I Didn't Let Hospital Bills Take Away The Joy Of Having My Twins

I Didn’t Let Hospital Bills Take Away The Joy Of Having My Twins

•  3 minute read

How to handle unexpected medical bills without ending up in the ER.

I thought I was prepared financially to have children. Even before I was pregnant, I had a dedicated high-yield savings account called “Alford Baby,” and every month, I’d add money.

How to handle unexpected medical bills without ending up in the ER. I Didn't Let Hospital Bills Take Away The Joy Of Having My Twins

Some might call this over-the-top, but those who know my obsessive Type A tendencies weren’t surprised. I’m a planner, plain and simple. Of course, the real surprise was when I found out I was having twins. This resulted in me doubling my savings account goal to $10,000 (after I had a good cry in the shower because I was so unbelievably scared).

 

I knew my maximum out-of-pocket deductible for my health insurance was $4,000, so I thought $10,000 would easily take care of any hospital costs, nursery preparations, or other items both children would need.

 

However, much to my surprise, the money ran out in the blink of an eye.

 

Only five weeks after having our twins, my husband got placed in a completely different part of the country for his medical school training, and we moved from Louisiana to New Jersey with two tiny five-pound babies who had just left the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

 

The early days were filled with lots of baby puke and sleepless nights, and then the bills started rolling in. We knew there was a possibility of our children going to the NICU, but the bills were so much higher than we anticipated. Our children had been under the care of six different doctors, and each had his or her own fee.

 

Add the cost of medications, extended care, and the considerable expense of a cross-country move. My daughter was on a heart-rate monitor for 12 weeks. I realized that my decent baby fund now seemed woefully inadequate.


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I decided to call the hospital and set up a payment plan to take care of the final bills. It took me about a year, but eventually, I got rid of the debt. After talking to other parents for the past couple of years, I realized that hospital debt due to the birth of a baby is extremely common even among people who have excellent insurance. So, if you’re in this situation, fear not. Here are a few steps you can take to get rid of that pesky hospital debt once and for all:

 

1. Contact the Hospital

 

I know, scary. It feels like walking into the principal’s office because you’ve done something “bad.”  These feelings are normal. Many people suffer from anxiety at the thought of calling a hospital’s billing department. However, this is the first and best step you can possibly take to get rid of your hospital debt. Having an open dialogue with the hospital shows them you are concerned about your debt, and you are willing to work on a plan to eliminate it.

 

2. Ask About Payment Plans And Discounts

 

Many hospitals will offer payment plans and even discounts if you simply ask. For example, if you’re only able to pay $100 a month towards your bills, tell them and see if they can work with you. Prove your loyalty. If your older child was born in that hospital, or if you loyally recommend them, tell them, stat!  You never know what information will help lower your bills. Asking for an itemized receipt to show you exactly what you are being charged for, and if you disagree with something, you can contest it.

 

3. Ask If They Will Consider a Settlement

 

If you have cash reserves and don’t want to set up a payment plan, you can offer a settlement to the hospital. For example, if you owe the hospital $5,000, you can tell them you have $3,000 in cash, and ask if they would take that as a settlement upfront. Remember to get everything in writing. This is including the person you spoke with and the details of the settlement. Don’t send any money until you have all agreements between you and the hospital documented in writing.

 

Hopefully one of these tips can help you conquer your debt and be less stressed in the process.