Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Healthcare Reform Means to Me

I loved having an unmedicated birth for Hannah and I plan to do it again. It took about a month for me to realize that I was dissatisfied with the care I received in the hospital because they're really not equipped or experienced with that type of labor. (Read Birth Story Part #3.) I decided to look into a Midwife practice since they are the experts in helping healthy women through a healthy labor.

In my first meeting with the midwife, I came prepared with a million questions. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about midwifery. It's not an antiquated practice. She monitors your health through routine prenatal visits similar to those with an OB. She is able to order blood tests, ultrasounds, administer rhogam injections for those with O- blood type, and has the training to recognize risk factors that might lead a woman to deliver in the hospital instead. After the baby is born, she will offer the same general infant care that a hospital and pediatrician would perform for the first few days of life. She even provides the routine injections that babies receive at the parent's discretion. On top of all this, she'll teach me how to have a natural birth and offer coaching throughout labor. Hopefully this will result in a less-smashed nose on Baby #2 upon exit!

Knowing all this, it should have been an easy decision. However, I got sticker shock. All in, the cost nears $4000 and insurance companies rarely cover any of this. I knew that the services were worth this price, but it's a daunting number to swallow with a second baby on the way in a one-income household. We brainstormed ways to make it work, but ultimately it seemed like the easiest way to move forward would be with the same practice and same hospital I used for Hannah.

Enter Obamacare.

I booked my first prenatal visit and entered a counseling session for billing details. Thanks to a change in my husband's insurance, we were looking at a grand total of $5000+ to deliver in the hospital. Even last year, with the best insurance Cigna offered, we still paid more than $2000 for the birth. The billing rep let me know that these changes have only come about in the last 2 years. In the past, births routinely cost insured families $200 to $500 total. Although Cigna appears to be the worst, nearly every insurance company has changed the plans offered to non-government employees to defray the majority of the costs back to the families, to the tune of 10 times the cost.

A light at the end of the tunnel.

After digesting the scary numbers, we've decided to move forward with a home birth under the supervision of a midwife. I'm happy that we are going this route because I truly believe that this is the best birth plan for our family. When I spoke with the billing rep from my OB's practice to let her know I was switching providers she told me that she expects to see this happening more and more frequently. That's the main reason I'm sharing this information. From personal experience, I can say that I believe a non-medicated birth is the best way for a healthy mother to deliver a healthy baby. I recommend that all parents-to-be take the time to learn about natural birth. Even if you don't choose this route, you are sure to learn ways to improve your health and your labor.

My motivation for a birth without medical intervention.

1 comment:

  1. I've had both of my babies at home and I loved the experience I had. No one bothering me to have a drip, no constant annoying monitor, etc. I hope you have a wonderful home birth experience. It was the best decision I've ever made!