Through prayer and lots of discussion, my husband and I decided to cancel my insurance policy altogether. At least that way we will be able to save the money we were paying for my premium. His employer generously agreed to pay my husband the other half of premium they paid for me, so that will allow us to save quite a bit each month to use toward our medical expenses.
Here are some of the other ways we will be saving up to pay cash for baby #4:
- We are already on a bare-bones budget, so the only way I know to trim expenses further is to reduce our grocery expenses. That is why I have started posting the "Healthy $10 a Day Menus," and I will continue to do this.
- We received some Christmas cash, which will go into the baby fund.
- I know it would be less expensive to use a midwife and have a home birth. However, during my last pregnancy, I had a problem with my placenta and bled quite a bit at delivery, so it's just too risky for me. My husband and I prefer to use a hospital for safety reasons.
- I plan to call the hospital and see what I can do, or bring on my own, to reduce fees. Also, if there are not any complications, and we can leave a few hours after delivery, it is likely that we can save dramatically on room and board. (As a side note, hospital costs can seem so excessive. Each of my boys roomed in with me, yet the hospital charged two room and board fees of more than $2,500 each--one for me and one for the baby. I called once and asked if, since we shared a room, the hospital would be willing to reduce one of the fees. Nope. Same with the circumcision: my doctor charged $400 for the procedure, the hospital charged $400 simply because the procedure was done at their hospital and the doctor used a tray of their instruments. Whether one has insurance or pays cash, these charges illustrate the problems with the medical system). Plus, the honest truth is many times hospitals are more willing to negotiate with those who do not have insurance, than those who have insurance but it won't cover their services, or have a high deductible (over $5,000).
What we recognize as modern medicine, Cohn writes, began in the 1920s. That's when doctors and hospitals, having only during the previous decade learned enough about disease that they could be reliably helpful in treating sick people, began charging more than most individuals could easily pay. To close this gap, which worsened with the advent of the Great Depression, the administrator of Baylor Hospital in Dallas created a system that caught on elsewhere and eventually evolved into Blue Cross. The Blues were essentially nonprofit health insurers who served local community organizations like the Elks. In exchange for a tax break, Blue Cross organizations kept premiums reasonably low.
The success of the Blues persuaded commercial insurers, who initially considered medicine an unpromising market, to enter the field. Private insurers accelerated these efforts in the 1940s when businesses, seeking ways to get around wartime wage controls, began to compete for labor by offering health insurance. If government regulators had thought to freeze fringe benefits along with wages, we might have avoided making the workplace primarily responsible for supplying health insurance, a role that most people now agree was ill-advised. Instead, the government jumped on the bandwagon by exempting from the income tax company expenses associated with health care...So that's where we're at today. People are paying more for fewer services. I don't know what the solution is, but for me, it's to pull out of the system altogether right now. I don't want fear of what could happen to dictate my life (and force me to shell out hundreds of dollars a month that I could be saving). Also, in what, or in whom, am I trusting? Am I trusting a system to provide my needs, or my God? I choose to trust in God. I choose to make responsible choices to do what I can to save the needed money, and I choose to trust that God will keep us safe and provide for all our needs.
The Blues, in their early days, charged everyone the same premium, regardless of age, sex, or pre-existing conditions. This was partly because the Blues were quasi-philanthropic organizations, Cohn explains, and partly because the Blues were created by hospitals and therefore interested mainly in signing up potential hospital patients. They were sufficiently benevolent that when Harry Truman proposed a national health-care scheme, opponents were able to defeat it by arguing that the nonprofit sector had the problem well in hand. As private insurers entered the market, however, they rejiggered premiums by calculating relative risk, and avoided the riskiest potential customers altogether. To survive, the Blues followed suit; today, they no longer enjoy a tax advantage and are virtually indistinguishable from other health insurers. Meanwhile, large companies, which tend to employ significantly more young people than old people, began to self-insure. The combined result was that people who really needed health care had an increasingly difficult time affording, or even getting, health-care insurance.
Have you ever had a baby without insurance, and how did you make it work?