Having a Baby With No Insurance? What You Need to Know
Congratulations on your new arrival!
Parenthood is one of life’s most treasured experiences, but if you’re reading this you already know that it can be stressful as well. If you or your loved one is having a baby without insurance coverage, you may be wondering how to access tools and resources that can help your growing family get the care you need.
Fortunately, there are a number of programs dedicated to providing essential coverage to you and your baby. Read on to find out how you can find support for your family during your pregnancy and beyond.
Is There Any Help When Having A Baby With No Insurance?
When you are having a baby with no insurance, you may find that you are concerned about meeting the needs of yourself and your baby. Facing uncertainty is never fun, and it can be even more difficult when you have a new bundle of joy on the way or just arrived.
The good news is that from state and federal government programs to community resources, there are different ways for you to find the help you need.
Our guide will walk you through everything you need to do to find the help you need.
Check Out Medicaid
Chances are high that you have already discounted getting Medicaid coverage. But once you are pregnant, you may now be able to qualify!
Medicaid coverage is typically based on your income, and if you make too much, you may think you will never be able to qualify. But once you are pregnant, many states raise the income requirements that coverage relies on.
Some parents may be able to qualify for Full-Scope Medicaid based on income and other factors. But as noted above, some parents who do not qualify for this may still qualify for Pregnancy-Related Medicaid.
(For parents with children who are already born, there’s CHIP, which we will cover next.)
In other words, those who didn’t previously qualify for Medicaid may now qualify once they are pregnant or qualify for other helpful programs.
Contact your doctor or local health center or the Health Insurance Marketplace to explore eligibility. In addition to serving as an important social safety net, Medicaid may be one of the best bets to help control the cost of having a baby associated with pregnancy.
Check On the Children’s Health Insurance Program
You may or may not have already heard of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which is also part of Medicaid. And as the name implies, the primary purpose of this program is to provide coverage for your children after they are born.
However, certain states extend the coverage of this insurance program to pregnant women. These states include Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.
If you live in one of these states, you may be surprised to discover that you may qualify for CHIP insurance even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.
You can also see if your family qualifies for CHIP by visiting the Health Care Marketplace.
Explore ACA Insurance Options
Medicaid and CHIP aren’t the only programs you can apply for on the Marketplace. If you don’t qualify for other programs, you still may very well be able to get affordable insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Depending on your income, you may qualify for tax credits that are applied against the cost of an insurance policy, thereby lowering cost.
You can normally only enroll in the ACA during the open enrollment period, but having a baby qualifies you for a special enrollment period, which means you can go ahead and apply within 60 days of birth.
If you had previously been receiving Medicaid or CHIP benefits and lose them, this also creates a special enrollment period that allows you to sign up for ACA coverage.
Navigate Possible Discounts
If you don’t qualify for any assistance and are not insured, try to understand your up front costs fully if you can. Before you pay for anything, it is worth contacting your doctor and hospital and asking about the possibility of discounts. (Though the documents can be hard to understand, hospitals must now by law publish their prices online.)
If the institution knows you are paying out of pocket, you may be able to negotiate pricing and payment terms upfront before you sign anything or make any payments.
Ask an administrator what options are available and check the fine print for any additional fees or conditions that may impact you.
Can a Parent Help?
Only you can make this decision, and this is not an option for many people, but if you are under 26 years old and have a parent or parents in your life who are insured and of sufficient means, it may be worth asking them for help.
This is because until you are 26 years old, your parents can add you as a dependent on their insurance coverage. And that means you may be able to benefit from their insurance coverage.
As usual, it’s important to check the fine print when it comes to this insurance coverage. The whole point of asking your parents to add you as a dependent is to take advantage of maternity services that are available for these dependents.
This also does not mean that the resulting care is free, so you would want to research and share the estimated costs and then discuss them. The insurance company can provide this information.
If you go this route, it’s important to be sure that everyone involved understands and agrees to the financial arrangement.
Talk To the Local Health Department
Contact your local health department directly by calling 1-800-311-BABY for English or 1-800-504-7081 for Spanish.
The exact options that are available will vary from area to area and health department to health department.
One restriction to this option is that most of the health department options will be reserved to very low-income individuals. But even if you don’t qualify for any of the assistance programs your health department has to offer, the department may be able to point you towards other options that you didn’t previously know about before.
Community Health Options
Not every community has the same programs and options available to parents, but most areas have some kind of community health center options that can help ease the financial burden of having a child. You can use this government site to find community health centers near you.
As you might expect, the exact options available will vary from center to center. But you can usually expect primary and prenatal care options, and the fees are likely to vary based on your exact level of income. No matter what your income is, you can expect your own community health center to greatly reduce the costs of having a child.
Explore Hill-Burton facilities
Have you ever heard of the Hill-Burton Act? Most people haven’t, but the outcome of this act can be very helpful for pregnant parents without insurance.
Basically, this act offers special funding to hospitals and other healthcare facilities that provide free care to a certain number of people throughout the year.
This free care can take many forms, and prenatal care is one of them. Such programs usually have income restrictions, and you can see if you qualify by contacting your nearest Hill-Burton facility.
Such services may or may not be based on your income. And even if they aren’t, these services are typically very affordable and can help you save quite a bit of money.
Non-Profits and Local Medical Schools
One of the best options for pregnant people in any community comes from different nonprofit organizations. For example, the March of Dimes offers a range of support options for pregnancy.
And regardless of your religious affiliation, you may be able to get help from various churches. A great example of this is the assistance available from nearby Catholic charities.
The final option is one that may not be available to most women. But if you live near a medical school, you may be able to get low-cost or even free prenatal options intended to help the local community.
Now you know about your options when it comes to having a baby with no insurance. But do you know how to save even more money?
Enjoy the Journey
We hope that you are able to find time and space to enjoy your new adventure, and we wish you and your family the very best!
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for federal benefits such as Medicaid, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.