Affording Baby May Take a Village
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but with the myriads of out-of-pocket expenses for aspiring parents it may take a village to afford one! Whether you are welcoming your new family member the old fashioned way or adopting, there are many financial concerns to take into consideration.
Average out-of-pocket costs of treatment can range from $1,000-20,000 depending on your insurance coverage, but the cumulative cost increases significantly with repeated procedures and use of medications. Parents trying to conceive will face unexpected out-of-pocket expenses such as consultations, tests, lab work, anesthesia, and the costs associated with third party help such as medication for a donor or surrogate.
- Pay Cash: Paying out out-of-pocket could mean discounts, especially if you pay up front. How you accrue the money is up to you. (psssst….we suggest fundraising.)
- Loans: There are several companies that offer treatment loans such as the ARC Affordable Payment Plan and the IntegraMed Financial Services that allow you to make monthly payments. However, moms- and dads-to-be should be aware the interest rates tend to be very high.
- Shared-Risk Program: A number of clinics allow you to pay a large amount up front for about four cycles of IVF, if you don’t conceive, you are refunded a percentage. Since there has been some controversy about safety and the ethics of these programs be sure to consult with your doctor and the Better Business Bureau before proceeding.
- Non-profit Organizations: Numerous non-profit organizations exist to help aspiring parents. They offer grants and other forms of assistance. From INCIID the Heart, Fertile Dreams, Madeline Gordon Gift of Life Foundation, Angels of Hope, FertileHope are a just a few.
Having the baby may be the easy part! Average costs for childbirths in a hospital or birth center range from $1,500 for an uncomplicated birth to over $20,000 for a C-section.
A BabyCenter survey found that 39% of fully insured parents paid $1,000 or more for out-of-pocket medical bills related to childbirth, and 9% had expenses of $5,000 or more.
From prenatal vitamins to anesthesia, there are many expenses you might not even think of: Prenatal care: $0-$2,000, prenatal vitamin: $15/30-day supply, maternity clothes, childbirth classes: $50-$200/class, hospital nursery costs and anesthesia to name a few.
“One mom from our survey was hit with a $4,800 bill for her epidural. ‘We were surprised to learn that only 25 percent of it was covered by our insurance,’ she says.”
Home births can be less expensive ranging from $1500-3000, but are rarely covered by insurance. If you go this route you will have to consider the costs of the midwife and equipment needed for the birth.
Web MD offers these tips to help pay for maternity costs:
- Get gently used maternity clothes from friends, resale shops and other sources like Craigslist. You are only going to wear these clothes for a couple months and quickly grow out of them.
- Comparison Shop for Vitamins: As long as your prenatal vitamins contain the recommended amount of folic acid, 600 mcg., you can shop around. Sometimes you can get a prescription for the vitamins from your doctor, so all you need to worry about is the copay. Other times it is better to buy over the counter.
- Don’t Over-buy Baby Supplies: It is easy to get overwhelmed in the baby section of your department store. Focus on the fundamentals; a car seat, a crib, a changing table, some baby clothes, and a baby monitor. Babies do not need many of the luxury items marketed to starry-eyed parents. Watch for bargains and don’t exclude hand-me-down and resale options.
- Negotiate Birthing Costs: If your insurance doesn’t cover the whole bill, talk to your health care provider about childbirth costs. Often the hospital will give you a negotiated rate. (Dr. Leslie Ramirez from Leslieslist.org, a website for comparison shopping for diagnostic tests and prescriptions, has some great advice on how to accomplish this.)
The average cost for both U.S. and international adoptions range between $15,000 and $35,000. This includes (but is not limited to): the home evaluation fee, legal and immigration fees, travel for both you and your child-to-be, medical expenses for the child, donations to the agency or orphanage, etc. Not to mention all the stuff you will need to make your new family member feel at home such as clothing, car seat, baby monitor, crib, etc. (Look above for tips on affording all the accoutrement of parenthood)
Fortunately there are many resources for prospective adoptive families. A publication on adoption expenses from the National Endowment for Education suggests the following:
- Tax Breaks: Talk to your accountant about writing off the costs associated with your adoption. There are also subsidies available for military families, tax credits, and provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act that may apply to your situation. You should explore all these benefits. (Click here for more information)
- Employer Programs: Many employers offer grants or some other form of assistance for adoptive families. Talk to your HR department for more information. (Click here to view a fact sheet on this topic from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
- Non-Profit Organizations: There are thousands in grant money available for families looking to adopt from dozens of organizations if you know where to look. The National Adoption Foundation is a good place to start. (Click here for a large list of adoption resources from Christian Family Adoptions.)
GiveForward and Your Village Can Help…
A new baby is a joyful event for family and friends. Whether you are trying to conceive, already expecting or seeking to adopt, the whole village can offer advice, words of support and donations to help prepare for baby’s arrival with a fundraising page from GiveForward.