The following sentence is probably the understatement of the year: having a baby is expensive. In addition to buying a crib, changing table and high chair, you will spend endless amounts on diapers and all of the many other things a tiny human needs. Of course, there are also health care expenses to consider, including your prenatal appointments, the delivery and postnatal care. All of these expenses can leave new parents facing a great deal of medical debt.
Fortunately, with some key planning and tactics, you can reduce the amount you end up paying for baby-related health care, and lessen your chances of going into debt. For example, check out the following ideas:
Shop Around for the Best Prices
Not all medical care or industry vendors charge the same for similar services. Just as you would check the price for a new car at several different dealerships, you can also do the same for medical-related services. For example, if you are hoping to bank your baby’s cord blood, you may be surprised to learn that there is a pretty big disparity between companies and what they charge. The cost of cord blood banking ranges between $3,500 to $5,075 for 20 years of cord blood storage.
When deciding which company to go with, look at not only the price but the number of stem cells that will typically be banked; since this procedure is essentially investing in the future health of your child, it is well worth taking the time to shop around and find the best possible price, along with a bank that stores as many stem cells as possible.
Consider Generic Drugs
If your OB/GYN has prescribed any prenatal vitamins and/or medications, you might ask about generic drugs as a money-saving option. Several large retailers like Walmart and Costco will sell generics at a discounted rate—for instance, for $4 per prescription. Call your regular pharmacy and see what the cost will be for the regular versus generic drugs, and then check with other stores to see if they can do better. You can also visit the website of the company that makes your prenatal vitamin or medication; in some cases, the firm will offer a discount to help cover your out-of-pocket costs, at least for a few months.
Harness the Power of an HSA
If you have a health savings account, or HSA, you can use the funds to pay for any qualified medical and pharmacy costs, all while saving on your taxes. An HSA is not a “use it or lose it” type of account; it will roll over from year to year. An HSA is an effective way to pay for pre-deductible medical costs, and, as a bonus, anyone can deposit money into the account. If grandparents-to-be are interested in helping you out with baby expenses, you might suggest that they donate to your HSA fund so you can use that money to pay for medical bills that insurance will not cover.
Relax, Enjoy Your New Baby and Save Money
While you might not be able to cut back on the amount you pay for diapers—unless your baby is a prodigy who potty trains very early—you can definitely find ways to save on medical expenses. By doing some comparison shopping, relaxing with heating pads, giving generics a try and looking into a health savings account, you can focus your energies on your new bundle of joy, instead of figuring out how to pay the bills.