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Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Old Jul 1st 2012, 1:13 pm
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Default Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

My husband is working for a large company with headquarters in the U.S. - and so do I. On my husband's side, there's a good chance he may be transferred to the U.S. in a few years time (or Canada, but that would be a different forum). I'm not sure whether I could transfer within my company, but ironically, both our companies are headquartered in the same U.S. city!

Now, I know that healthcare in the U.S. is expensive. Could you let me know how much insurance usually costs for a (by then) mid-30s couple?

Given that one day, we may want to start a family - what happens when you fall pregnant? Does this get covered by the insurance? How much does it usually cost to give birth, etc. when you're there?
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by tinseltown17 View Post
My husband is working for a large company with headquarters in the U.S. - and so do I. On my husband's side, there's a good chance he may be transferred to the U.S. in a few years time (or Canada, but that would be a different forum). I'm not sure whether I could transfer within my company, but ironically, both our companies are headquartered in the same U.S. city!

Now, I know that healthcare in the U.S. is expensive. Could you let me know how much insurance usually costs for a (by then) mid-30s couple?

Given that one day, we may want to start a family - what happens when you fall pregnant? Does this get covered by the insurance? How much does it usually cost to give birth, etc. when you're there?
You will find that there is no 'typical' when it comes to healthcare. Usually your employer pays a share of the monthly 'premium' and you pay a share from your paycheck. If your employers are not going to be paying then you could be in for a huge monthly premium and I would seriously consider not taking the job!

Hubby's Health Insurance Policy - for a family of 3 we pay $400 per month. But that doesn't cover everything. We then have a deductible (think excess) that we must pay before our insurance kicks in and pays anything at all. For us this if $1500 per individual or $3000 as a family. So after paying monthly premiums we still have to pay the first $1500 per person or a maximum of $3000 between us of costs before anything is paid by the insurance co.

After that the insurance starts paying a portion of our bills - around 90% (although that changes if you go to a dr that is not in their network or for certain procedures). We pay the rest (called co-insurance).

So after paying our monthly premiums plus a possible $3000 we pay 10% of costs up to our maximum out of pocket expenses of $6000 per year. It would be extremely easy to reach that figure with one major accident or illness so we have that amount set aside should the worst happen.

If you search healthcare on this forum you will find that some people have no deductible or coinsurance or differing amounts. You will find some people who don't have to pay a monthly premium and people who pay much more or much less.

This is why you need to read and understand your policy before moving to the US esp. if you plan to become pregnant over here. It could cost you nothing or thousands! Also you may or may not have a dental policy and a pharmacy policy.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

+1 what ChocolateBabz said. I would suggest you contact your respective companies HRs (in the U.S.) and ask for their policies and prices. Most good size employers would have that information online, if not, they should be able to send you information via email.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

True, it is highly dependent on your company's offering.

My husband's company provides health insurance for him but additional for me - about $80 a month for me. When we have the babies, it will go to $250 a month. We are fortunate in that we don't pay much for our insurance and have a good policy.

We had no deductible, in fact, until 1 June, now it is $1000. So I fell pregnant in February....in June (last month) with the new policy year in effect, we had to pay the $1000. Now everything else is covered, except our co-pays which are $15 per visit.

I'd never want to be pregnant without insurance here in the USA. Long gone are the days that one could pay out of pocket and if there are complications, the costs could be astronomical.

I was born in the USA back in the 70s and my dad was a self-employed. So he paid $800 for my delivery, out of pocket.

One interesting thing we found whilst researching companies health plans here...a few companies penalize if the spouse has access to their own plans at their own companies and choose to be covered at the other spouse's company. In other words, deterring folks to choose the least expensive (or better plan) of the two companies that the two spouses work for.

If you are covered under a company group health plan, don't worry a bit about falling pregnant here. We came specifically from Scotland for the health care as I was having difficulty falling pregnant and NHS wasn't much help in diagnosis nor treatment of our difficulty in two years. And we DID have the postcode lottery winning area! We came to Houston and within a DAY we had a diagnosis and treatment started immediately. I very soon fell pregnant with twins, which with our insurance, puts me immediately in high risk pregnancy, which is fine as I get seen every 2 weeks until week 28 then I go every week. This includes an ultrasound at each appointment. I'd never get that level of attention with NHS. Plus, for any complications, we are safe to know the number of Level III NICUs in Houston. (Although we are blessed and all is quite fine with the babies.)

However, I just met a lady whose son and daughter in law moved back to Scotland in order to give birth as they didn't have health insurance here. (He was self-employed contractor with only a catastrophic plan for themselves, which does not cover maternity.) Hospitals here demanded $10,000 deposit. And no confirmation of final charges as no one can confirm there will be zero complications. That does not include pre-natal or OB care. That is separate.

Sadly as good as the health care is in the USA, it is for those who can well afford it. For your case, I'm sure the health insurance offered by your respective companies will be quite adequate. Meaning, you'll not need to go seek private health insurance.

Last edited by Bomjeito; Jul 1st 2012 at 2:52 pm. Reason: Clarifications.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Our wiki might answer some of your questions.

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Health_Insurance
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Thanks for all the answers. I rather like looking into this well in advance - my husband's colleague has just recently been transferred there, and organised maniac that I am, I'd rather want to know what's ahead of us if we go down that route.

His colleagues coming the other way (working in the UK) have a rather plush relocation package, e.g. company pays private school tuition for kids... which for England, if you have 3 kids as some of them do, is quite a lot on top of your salary. The UK employees doing the same job would have to pay for that themselves, which most won't be able to afford.

The corporate world is a weird one...
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by tinseltown17 View Post
My husband is working for a large company with headquarters in the U.S. - and so do I. On my husband's side, there's a good chance he may be transferred to the U.S. in a few years time (or Canada, but that would be a different forum). I'm not sure whether I could transfer within my company, but ironically, both our companies are headquartered in the same U.S. city!

Now, I know that healthcare in the U.S. is expensive. Could you let me know how much insurance usually costs for a (by then) mid-30s couple?

Given that one day, we may want to start a family - what happens when you fall pregnant? Does this get covered by the insurance? How much does it usually cost to give birth, etc. when you're there?
How much will a medical procedure cost me in the US? = How long's a piece of string? The only certain answer is more than you probably expect.

How much will a medical procedure cost me in X years time? = How long's a piece of string when traveling in the TARDIS? The only certain answer is more than you probably expect.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by tinseltown17 View Post
My husband is working for a large company with headquarters in the U.S. - and so do I. On my husband's side, there's a good chance he may be transferred to the U.S. in a few years time (or Canada, but that would be a different forum). I'm not sure whether I could transfer within my company, but ironically, both our companies are headquartered in the same U.S. city!

Now, I know that healthcare in the U.S. is expensive. Could you let me know how much insurance usually costs for a (by then) mid-30s couple?

Given that one day, we may want to start a family - what happens when you fall pregnant? Does this get covered by the insurance? How much does it usually cost to give birth, etc. when you're there?
Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
How much will a medical procedure cost me in the US? = How long's a piece of string? The only certain answer is more than you probably expect.

How much will a medical procedure cost me in X years time? = How long's a piece of string when traveling in the TARDIS? The only certain answer is more than you probably expect.

Exactly.

It's also like insuring a house. Where do you live? What is the value of your house? What sort of things do you have inside your house and to what extent to you want them covered? What sort of risks are you prepared to take? Who else comes into your house and under what circumstances? What is going to happen to the area around your house over time? What happens if there is a flood or a fire? Etc. etc. etc. If you are working for a large company, you will be covered by their group insurance - how good it is and how much of the premium you will have deducted out of your paycheck will vary from company to company. There is no usual. But in 10 years it could all be totally different.

Even with good insurance (as things stand now, let alone in 10 years), you can still end up paying a lot. Deductibles, caps, 80% of this and 90% of that. A simple hospital procedure could easily end up "costing" (ie how much appears on the bill) $75,000. How much is 20% of that to pay out of pocket? A lot.

Last edited by Lion in Winter; Jul 1st 2012 at 4:14 pm.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by Bomjeito View Post

This includes an ultrasound at each appointment. I'd never get that level of attention with NHS.
I don't know that that's true. Even 19 years ago in England when I had my son, a work colleague was expecting twins. I know she had a lot of scans (on the NHS).
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 5:02 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Pregnancy and birth is the easy bit.

One month later we are now starting to get bills in the mail for 12k wondering what they are for despite excellent insurance cover and pre certifying everything. Monday should be fun calling up the hospital to try and get it resolved.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
I don't know that that's true. Even 19 years ago in England when I had my son, a work colleague was expecting twins. I know she had a lot of scans (on the NHS).
All based on post code and what is offered. My friend back in Scotland just delivered twins. She didn't get lots of scans.

Hey, it's not at all a slam against NHS. In fact we are moving back after the babies are born!
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
One month later we are now starting to get bills in the mail for 12k
Somebody obviously turned on the TV when they were lying in bed bored out of their mind. Or ordered a coffee.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
Pregnancy and birth is the easy bit.

One month later we are now starting to get bills in the mail for 12k wondering what they are for.
That was for the couple of aspirin in the recovery room.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
That was for the couple of aspirin in the recovery room.
One, maybe! A couple would be stretching it at that price.
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Old Jul 1st 2012, 5:13 pm
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Default Re: Healthcare and Pregnancy in the U.S.?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
I don't know that that's true. Even 19 years ago in England when I had my son, a work colleague was expecting twins. I know she had a lot of scans (on the NHS).
Agreed. Not sure about fortnightly but some friends had twins a couple of months ago with numerous routine scans - certainly a lot more than with a "normal" pregnancy.

Back 5 years ago the scan lasted maybe 15 minutes. Nine months ago with baby #2 the scan lasted a good half hour with far more tests and examination than previously, such is the progress of what they can do with ultrasounds now.
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