My husband and I are lucky to be a dual-income family. He works for a global consumer product goods company and I run my own writing and editing business. But when we found out that we were expecting our second child in May, we knew that we would have to do some extra prep to be ready financially.
For starters, because I’m a freelancer, we anticipated my income would take a hit for a few months while I took maternity leave. On top of that, we have health insurance through my husband’s company, which only offers a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), so we expected to pay some high out-of-pocket medical costs.
Here’s what we did to prepare financially for our second son, and how much it ultimately cost to have a baby with an HDHP.
WE RELIED ON OUR HSA
Because we have an HDHP we’re also eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA), an investment account that allows you to save for medical costs with some serious tax benefits, like pre-tax contributions, tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals for eligible medical expenses.
My husband and I made it a regular financial goal to contribute the maximum amount to that account every year, which for a family was $7,000 in 2019 and $7,100 this year. That doesn't happen every year, and that's OK. For example, we only managed to add $4,900, plus an employer contribution of $1,000, to our HSA since August of last year. We also had some rollover funds from previous years (another perk of an HSA – the money you put in doesn’t expire each year). That money went a long way in covering our baby-related expenses.
WE ENROLLED IN A PAYMENT PLAN FOR PRENATAL CARE
Once you begin prenatal care, my OB-GYN requires that all patients enroll in their monthly payment plan. While we initially balked at this idea, it ended up being a great way to spread out our medical costs over the course of my pregnancy.
We paid an average of $193 a month to cover prenatal care, as well as $249 to cover the cost of genetic testing, which was billed outside of our insurance. By the time we got to the delivery room, we had already covered all our prenatal care costs, so the only other major bill left to pay (outside of our hospital stay) was a $1,035 bill for our midwife. The payment plan had made it a lot easier for us to be able to handle that expense, which we covered using our HSA funds.
WE PLANNED AHEAD FOR OUR REDUCED INCOME
Because I'm a freelancer, I wouldn't be getting paid during maternity leave. I also planned to take at least an eight-week maternity leave, as opposed to the three-and-a-half-week leave I took with my first (which I wouldn’t recommend, especially for a first-time mom). That meant that we had to make up the deficit somewhere.
We were lucky that my husband was slated to receive his annual bonus two months before my due date, so we earmarked those funds to help pad our income. We also majorly reined in our spending in preparation for the baby's arrival. Since he was our second son, we already had most of the gear and clothing he would need, which really helped keep our costs down.
WHAT WE ULTIMATELY PAID
Our HDHP has a deductible of $2,800, and after we meet that, our coinsurance kicks in and we are responsible for 20 percent up to $7,000. Once we hit that out-of-pocket max, our insurance covers our costs 100 percent. It’s also worth noting that by the time our son was born, we had reached our annual deductible limit, and some costs were always 100 percent covered by our plan, like breast pumps and lactation consultants.
These were our final out-of-pocket costs after our bills were processed by our insurance company.
Prenatal care: $1,551 (paid via our OB-GYN's payment plan)
Genetic testing: $249
Midwife services during labor: $1,035
OB hospitalist and some tests I had upon admittance: $26
Two-night hospital stay: $1,821
Everyone’s situation will be different. But for us, this wasn’t a bad price tag for a major medical event. It was less than we originally thought it would be, having heard other stories of families with HDHPs paying up to $7,000. Plus, we were able to pay a good portion of the out-of-pocket costs using our pre-tax HSA contributions.
Now if only we can get the baby to sleep through the night...