Many times, the women who face unplanned pregnancies are in less-than-ideal situations. They may still be in school, working to advance their career, barely affording their day-to-day costs, or simply not ready to become a parent. For some women, an unplanned pregnancy can be dire if they do not have health insurance. Pregnancy can be a scary and complicated medical condition, and going into this nine-month journey without access to medical care is incredibly stressful.
If you’re in this position, you are probably feeling incredibly overwhelmed at the prospect of obtaining prenatal care without insurance. You want the best for yourself and your unborn baby, but a future of insurmountable medical bills can make you wonder what the best step is moving forward.
If you are worried about your upcoming prenatal care cost without insurance, always remember that you have options. If you have no insurance, prenatal care isn’t off the table; you will just have to take a few extra steps to obtain the affordable medical care you need.
What to Do If You are Facing Prenatal Care Cost Without Insurance
Almost half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Therefore, a great percentage of these women find themselves uninsured and worried about how they will afford their upcoming prenatal care costs. About 11 percent of American women in 2011 were uninsured and, because women are more likely to lose their dependent status on insurance, that coverage is more at-risk than a man’s insurance is.
All this to say: You are not alone if you are wondering how much prenatal care without insurance is in your situation. You have nothing to be ashamed of if you discover you are pregnant while uninsured, but the next steps you take can make all the difference in the world for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Step 1: Understand the true costs of prenatal care without insurance.
If you find yourself pregnant and uninsured, you may be wary of the extra steps and responsibility involved in getting insurance at this already-stressful time in your life. However, do not underestimate the importance of insurance during your pregnancy.
Women often ask, “How much for prenatal care without insurance should I expect to pay?” Every woman’s pregnancy is different, but the average cost of prenatal care without insurance for a typical pregnancy is about $2,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That doesn’t include the costs of childbirth and delivery, postpartum recovery and the rest of your costs of raising a child — all substantial aspects of your pregnancy costs.
The costs of prenatal care without insurance can be prohibitive to even the best prepared. If you are not sure you can afford the overall costs of pregnancy and parenthood, you can always choose to terminate your pregnancy (an average cost in the hundreds to thousands of dollars) or place your child for adoption (which is always free to you). Keep in mind that, should you choose adoption, the costs of your prenatal care will always be covered by your adoption professional, as well as other living expenses during your pregnancy.
Step 2: Apply for Medicaid, if eligible.
If you decide to continue your pregnancy with the goal of raising your child, obtaining some kind of insurance will be incredibly helpful in the months to come. Fortunately, there is a government-sponsored Medicaid prenatal care program that can cover your prenatal services, if you are eligible.
Different states have different rules regarding Medicaid eligibility but, if you are living on a low income, it’s likely that you will be eligible for Medicaid prenatal care coverage. Contact your local Medicaid office today for more information about the program and your eligibility.
Step 3: Research the Affordable Care Act’s prenatal care policies.
Since 2013, insurance companies are required to cover maternity care and childbirth, not treat it as a pre-existing condition. Expectant mothers can obtain health coverage even after their pregnancy begins. The ACA prenatal care policy reaffirms that maternity care and childbirth are covered by Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
You can learn more about applying for these insurance programs at any time on HealthCare.gov.
Step 4: Consider purchasing a prenatal care insurance plan.
Many group and private insurance policies offer you the chance to enroll in their programs at certain times during the year. Talk with your employer to see if there are any employer-provided plans available to you, or search through the HealthCare.gov Marketplace for more options. You may also consider alternative short-terms plans (such as AmeriPlan) that provide discounts on your healthcare services.
Step 5: Search for low-cost, affordable prenatal care clinics and services.
In addition to purchasing prenatal care insurance plans, there are a few steps you can take to reduce what your no-insurance prenatal care costs you.
First, you should search for low-cost family planning clinics and community healthcare clinics around you (such as Planned Parenthood). These professionals typically charge less than larger, private healthcare providers. You should also take the time to shop around for providers; ask them about their healthcare costs, especially if you are paying for your prenatal care without insurance. Find out if they offer payment plans or reduced-cost programs for low-income expectant mothers. Simple steps such as choosing generic prescriptions over brand-name can also play a huge role in reducing your cost of prenatal care without health insurance.
Prenatal care without insurance isn’t impossible to find; you just need to know where to look and what to look for. We know an unexpected pregnancy can be stressful, so take the time to find the professional who is right for you and your budget to start your pregnancy out on the right note.