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I can't afford a home birth.


Forum: Home Birth

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  #1  
March 14th, 2010, 03:20 AM
MandyRS's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Since I live in an area where home birth is more the norm than the exception, I have been trying to get it together and do my interviews so I know who I want as my midwife, so I could call for my spot the day I get my BFP... well I don't know what I was thinking, I should have realized that especially where I live I will never be able to afford it! At $4300 up-front, even if insurance reimbursed all of that eventually, there is zero possibility of swinging it. If I had it, I'd be willing to spend that money in a heartbeat. Good midwives deserve every cent and more, and the experience would be worth every bit of it. But we unfortunately live paycheck to paycheck right now, since both DH and I are students, and even dividing it up- $550/month would equal eviction from our house.

Even though the hospitals here are really good about being hands-off, I want to be in MY HOME; I despise hospitals. It's just so unfair... has anyone here had to go through this before you could afford a home birth? Do you have any tips on making it easier, choosing a nurse midwife, etc.? I'd try to hire a doula, but they aren't much cheaper than midwives unfortunately.
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  #2  
March 14th, 2010, 05:11 AM
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We are trying to figure out the same thing for the Birth Center. The average cost is $4,000. We have $1,000 in our HSA account, and DH just reduced the amount we put into there each month from his paycheck (he can only adjust it twice per year and adjusted it in Jan - smart move! Next adjustment time is in July, I think. So thankfully we have a little cushion, but we don't have much otherwise month to month to save. I'm trying to do little things. We turned our hot water heater down a bit and it saved almost $70 (3 degrees) on this last bill. We started couponing a few weeks ago (we use thegrocerystoregame.com) and although we haven't gone under what our budget says, we are not going over. We've been getting around $150-200 worth of food for $75-80. Our food bill is our biggest budget buster. We're being super careful to turn off lights/unplug electronics when we are not using them or not in the room, etc. We'll see how much that saves us. Aside from that we just keep finding ways we can trim our budget, cut "blow" type spending, and somehow manage to come up with at least $3,000 more by November. (We bought a house in November, and doubled our square footage so our bills doubled and it has been a nightmare with the gas, electric, water, etc bills we're still trying to adjust and cut our expenses).

Have you interviewed other midwives? I can't image that no midwife would accept a payment plan or work with your insurance if HB is legal in your state (in NC it is not so insurance is worthless unless you transfer care). I don't know how it differs region to region, but from what I've been told a HB here is around $2,000 so maybe another midwife has a lower fee?
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  #3  
March 14th, 2010, 07:37 AM
inyourhonor's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I was going to say also that i'm sure some midwife has to accept a payment plan. If you could swing that its quite possible.

I made payment plans with my first home birth and was paid off one week before he was born haha. This baby we aren't making a payment until we get our home tax credit back and my midwife is perfectly fine with that. So this time I will be paying it all at once.

We are also paycheck to paycheck and cutting things out of our budget. We made big sacrifices with our 2nd to make sure we could have it. To be honest, I live in Michigan and this birth is costing me $1,500. My 1st home birth was $1,860. I could not afford a 3+ let alone a 4+ home birth. I know that the way of living is different from CA and MI.

I almost didn't get a chance to have a 2nd home birth with this baby. We were hit with a rough financial situation at the end of the year when we found out we were pregnant again. I am terrified of going to a hospital to birth but it looked almost like I was going to have to.

I would keep searching midwives and see what they could do as far as payment plans and costs. Also, I would look into if its not a possibility with ahome birth, look into a birth center with a CNM. I'm not quite sure how to help you
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  #4  
March 14th, 2010, 08:35 AM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I agree with the above, can you make payment plans? A lot of HBMWs do that. We made 3 payments to our MW. First one was $2,000, then we did a $350, and are going to do our last payment of $350 to her tomorrow for our appointment. I know some Midwives actually have what they charge for each prenatal, birth, postnatal, etc. on a sheet, and then the woman pays for each appointment that day. That could work, depending on how much the charge is.
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  #5  
March 14th, 2010, 01:35 PM
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I agree that most midwives will do a payment plan for you. We paid ours all at once ($3000), but they mentioned that many of their clients pay in installments and they would even let you pay after the birth if you needed. I would ask if they are willing to work out a payment plan with you.
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  #6  
March 14th, 2010, 05:11 PM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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When we first met with my midwife and we got to the financial part of the discussion, my midwife gave me some sheets with "deadlines" etc for when certain amounts need to be paid by. But then she told me "this is really just official gobbledyguk, we can work something out that works for you." Then my insurance refused to pay a single penny of it. We worked it out with our midwife. We were very lucky that my husband got a bonus at work that covers almost the entire thing, but without that, we would still be on the payment plan and our midwife would be fine with it.

With my son's hospital birth, I had awesome insurance. The only thing I ever paid was a $10 co-pay for my first OB visit. The rest was all paid for by insurance. However, DH and I got married in my seventh month of pregnancy, and I put his insurance down as a secondary insurance. The hospital made a mistake and billed his insurance as the primary insurance. The only reason I had such great insurance is because I worked for the medical system. My husband had/has pretty standard health inurance. We got a bill from the hospital when my son was a couple months old, for over $6,000. All of it with big red letters OVERDUE. We did end up getting it straightened out and the correct insurance was billed etc. But the insurance DH had then is almost identical to what we have now. DS's birth was pretty standard, and I didn't even have drugs or an epi so I'd expect it to be cheaper than other hospital births.

So I guess what I'm saying is, even with insurance paying, hospital births can still be very expensive. And they want their money NOW. If I were you, I'd look into how much your insurance will actually pay for a hospital birth, and the standard cost of a hospital birth in your area etc. I know $4300 may seem like a lot, but it could actually be the cheaper of the two options.

And like the above posters have said, most midwives that I've heard about are willing to work with clients on payments etc. It wouldn't hurt to call the midwife and explain your situation, that you're both students and have very little money etc.
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  #7  
March 15th, 2010, 10:37 AM
flitabout's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Mine has a sliding scale if you pay it off by 28 weeks it is $2700 and by 35 weeks it is 29. If it isn't paid until the very end it is $3500. All of the midwives around here work in that manor.
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  #8  
March 15th, 2010, 10:40 AM
Twinkle's Avatar Platinum Super Mommy
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We wouldn't be able to swing that much upfront as well. My midwives charge $6500, with a minimum of $2500 being due before the birth. The rest is charged after they receive their insurance payments, then we'd pay the balance. They are willing to work out payment plans and whatnot.

I do hope that you find someone to help you, there has to be someone out there!
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  #9  
March 18th, 2010, 01:28 AM
MandyRS's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thanks for the tips ladies... I had thought about a payment plan (the midiwife I spoke to takes them, but the full balance is due by 36 weeks) but like I said, it would still be roughly $550 a month. Impossible... if only I could find a midwife who wouldn't require the full balance before the birth. I haven't contacted ALL of them in the area (there are heaps), so I guess I will keep going before losing all hope.

I hadn't thought about the hospital bill... due to numerous other hospital bills (my husband has had a few major surgeries and hospitalizations in the past few years) we are actually just now filing for bankruptcy, so we will for sure be stuck with that!! Our insurance pays 90% (my husband is a teacher, so it's good insurance), but I'm sure 10% will still be a big hit. I may end up doing an unassisted birth with these kinds of prices!! I just wish I lived ANYWHERE else right now!!

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  #10  
March 18th, 2010, 01:44 AM
MandyRS's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Thanks for the tips ladies... I had thought about a payment plan (the midiwife I spoke to takes them, but the full balance is due by 36 weeks) but like I said, it would still be roughly $550 a month. Impossible... if only I could find a midwife who wouldn't require the full balance before the birth. I haven't contacted ALL of them in the area (there are heaps), so I guess I will keep going before losing all hope.

I hadn't thought about the hospital bill... due to numerous other hospital bills (my husband has had a few major surgeries and hospitalizations in the past few years) we are actually just now filing for bankruptcy, so we will for sure be stuck with that!! Our insurance pays 90% (my husband is a teacher, so it's good insurance), but I'm sure 10% will still be a big hit. I may end up doing an unassisted birth with these kinds of prices!! I just wish I lived ANYWHERE else right now!!

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  #11  
March 18th, 2010, 11:48 AM
Mrs.Paradise's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Mandy... I was thinking maybe you could get on medicade? I dont know if that would cover a home birth but its worth a try!?!? you should be able to qualify for it?
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  #12  
March 18th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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I'm sorry Mandy - that sounds really stressful. I know up here you can often find volunteer doulas or ones who are new who will work for way less that the amounts your talking. Maybe get in touch with your local doula association and see if they can hook you up.
I'd also recommend trying to see if anyone will do a payment plan that is longer term - I'd sure rather owe money to a midwife than a hospital.
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  #13  
March 26th, 2010, 01:50 PM
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Oh Mandy, I'm so sorry to hear you're having so much trouble getting what you need. I hope some of the tips above helped, but if all else fails, you can come move up here and be my neighbor! Free midwife, free home birth, and of course, coffee with your co-host every morning
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  #14  
March 26th, 2010, 05:53 PM
Twinkle's Avatar Platinum Super Mommy
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I hope that you are able to keep looking and find someone who is willing to work with you. How about student doulas? Or a lay midwife? They might be able to provide you with some other options?
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  #15  
March 29th, 2010, 03:46 AM
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i agree go along with the doulas who are in training as they would cost next to nothing to be there for you. or you could always just go down the free birthing road
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  #16  
April 7th, 2010, 07:53 AM
wonderfullymade's Avatar Doula & MW Apprentice
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Oh Mandy! I am so sorry!!! I can understand how stressful this is! I would, personally, call every. single. MW in the area, tell them your situation, and ask if they have pro bono availability. If not/in addition to that, look into Medicaid, you are probably qualified.

I would also email all of the doulas in your area and see if they have pro bono/sliding scales as well. Usually, you can get a newer doula or provisional doula to do it for greatly reduced or free. Oftentimes ALL doulas will work with you on price because we believe that ALL women deserve a doula - not just those who can foot the bill.

Don't give up! Take a deep breath, send out TONS of correspondence, and I will send up some T&P for you! If you feel comfortable, send me a PM of where in CA you live and I will put out some feelers in my circles as well...
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  #17  
April 7th, 2010, 08:34 AM
wonderfullymade's Avatar Doula & MW Apprentice
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ok - just talked to a HB MW if CA and she recommended...

"CNMs can take MediCal, so she might be able to have a birth center birth or, if she has to, a hospital birth with a CNM."

But also was quick to point out that many HB MWs are also hurting in this economical climate and she (and many others in CA), like you, recently filed for bankruptcy... So, MediCal and a CNM might be a better, more ready option.
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  #18  
April 7th, 2010, 10:23 AM
c'est_la_vie's Avatar Is it nap time yet?
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Have you thought about getting a credit card or a loan from a bank with a low interest rate? This birth is going on a card - but we'll have it paid off within a year. We decided to do it this way because its a lot cheaper to pay upfront then little by little.
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