Babies are expensive. And although the excitement about the new addition to the family often outweighs the costs, parents can get overwhelmed with the sudden increase in their expenses.
The good news is that babies come with a nine-month notice. The bad news is that there are many expenses that might be overlooked during the planning phase. One of these costs is health care. Even healthy babies may need a good number of doctor visits early on just to verify that their development is on track.
If a baby is born with any serious health problems, medical bills can be astronomical. That is why it is important to think of your new baby’s health care insurance options before birth. If your employer or your spouse’s employer won’t provide coverage for your family members, tap into other options.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Find private insurance
No one wants to think of their unborn baby being sick, but it is important to line up health insurance even before birth. Insurers will cover your baby from the date of birth. Ask private insurers or what they offer. They might need an adult to be on the policy to be able to add a child.
If that is the case, consider the costs compared to what your employer offers. By its definition, insurance is not something you will use for sure — which is good. But you must have it in place for the chance that you might need it. So collect insurance rate quotes as soon as you can and certainly have something lined up before the baby is born.
Hospital payment plans
Some hospitals offer financing options when needed. If you’re not certain you will be able to cover medical expenses in full or your portion after insurance, make sure you select a hospital that will work with you on financing.
Some clinics may even provide packages for new baby routine check-ups, which are likely to be much cheaper than if you walk in every time you need one. This option combined with some public resources that provide free vaccinations can be a good solution, if your income is limited.
Find a way to pays bills
If you still have to cover big medical bills despite having insurance, think of the best ways to do so. Racking significant debt on your credit cards is not ideal. Consider taking a personal loan, at a much lower interest rate, to pay off medical bills. Keep in mind, however, future expenses. So even if lender are will to give you more than you need, don’t rush into a big personal loan that adds to your financial burden.
Unexpected medical bills can also throw off your budgeting. So make sure that you immediately take a serious look into your current expenses versus your income, and trim expenses accordingly. For example, cancel a big purchase or an expensive trip to cover as much as possible of your new expenses.
Be realistic and cautious
New parents are target to sellers of all sorts of services and products. So try to use your best judgement when you’re evaluating medical options. A good starting point is what’s a must and what’s not. And you certainly need to separate between what has a medical necessity and what is recommended by your doctors.
Although you might have much experience with parenting, your gut feeling may be more accurate than anything in detecting paid services and products that are unneeded. Remember, children grow faster than anyone expects, so building a baby gym to improve your baby’s gross motor skills in your basement may take longer than your baby developing those skills on his or her own.
By Rania Oteify
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