What They Don't Tell You When you get Pregnant - The Financials
This will be the first in a series of posts sharing my version of "What To Expect When You're Expecting" but more focused on what they DON'T tell you. From the moment we found out we were pregnant there were a myriad of emotions we went through, excitement, joy, happiness, anxious, a little fear, and a roller coaster of more. Throughout those long 9 months we spent it preparing for baby and keeping myself and baby healthy. The doctors told us all the things to ensure our little Caro would be brought into this world safely and healthy as well as keeping me as healthy as possibly. If you missed my birth story, you can catch up here! Little did we know there was SO MUCH MORE that needed to be told and prepped for. One main aspect of having a baby that we were not prepared for, and are still trying to navigate through, is the financials of it all. If we could go back we would take saving up our money a bit more seriously solely for the mountain of hospital bills we are swimming in. There are a few things I wish I would have been taught, told, or warned of when the doctors told us officially we were going to be parents.
First, make sure you have the right health insurance.
If you don't have health insurance I would have to imagine your hospital bills may be even worse. If that's not the case than joke's one me x 10 because I got health insurance when we started trying but purchased one with the lowest premium I could find that didn't have pregnancy and maternity coverage at the time but offered an "upgrade" option, and let's just say I feel like a young dumb duped little girl when all the invoices were said and done. Asking around to find out how much, on average, my friends and family paid for their entire hospital stay was very unreliable because times are way different than when our parents gave birth to us and friends vary based on what kind of insurance they had. Moral of the story is to do really good research and ask your agency as many questions as you can to find out what will be covered and what you can expect to pay. That can still be hard to say because they can't exactly give you numbers, but you can still gage if you'll be more covered or less covered and have a better understanding of if your invoices are correct when they start rolling in.
Second, Keep Up With Your Invoices
After a month or so of pure bliss with our new, beautiful gift from God, the bills start to roll in one after another. We definitely had that sticker shock moment when we received one of the main invoices from the hospital. I could not believe my insurance didn't cover more of it, or even if it did, that the bill could be that high. Now I know my situation was a little different and you can't necessarily plan financially for a major surgery when it is an emergency C-section, but if the invoice was so high the insurance covered its part and there was still that large of an amount left seemed so absurd. Make sure you keep up with each one as it comes in so when you have questions you can call and clarify. I made the mistake of wanting to turn a blind eye for a little while to enjoy that blissful feeling of not a care in the world except is she clean, is she fed. I let the invoices pile up and after a while became a little overwhelming and confusing.
Third, Set aside a hospital fund the moment you find out
After you have that official appointment and find out the joyous news, I highly recommend setting aside money solely for hospital bills of the birth. I know it can be really hard, especially if you're like me and have multiple things you're paying off, so extra money seems pretty scarce. Even the smallest amounts will add up over nine months and buy you some time when the invoices start to roll in. That was probably the most stressful thing for us after Caroline was born. Ironically, the stress of all the invoices outweighed the stress of keeping a newborn baby alive, who knew?!
Had Morgan and I known what to expect (of course the birth didn't go quite as planned but even so) when we first found out, we would have prepared ourselves from the get-go financially for the aftermath of bringing that sweet bundle into the world.
I'm not writing this to scare anyone or inadvertently cause someone to second guess having kids, I just wished when we started planning for it, this side of it was stressed more to us. We had no expectation of the amount we were about to owe, but we certainly did not expect it to be as high as it ended up. So hopefully these tips can help you on your baby journeys as I know I will be much more prepared for the next ones we have! I do want to add that when the invoices start coming in you can set up payments with your hospitals based on what you can pay. It doesn't go against your credit score, so pay what you can when you can comfortable for your family. Morgan and I just truly hate feeling like we are in debt when we don't need to be so it hit us pretty hard.
If you have any advice you want to add for expecting mommies or families please leave it in the comments, let's spread the love! If you're expecting, big congrats to you! Let's link up via social media or subscribe to the blog and stay connected as we go through our pregnancy journey together!