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Our experience of having a baby

Our experience of having a baby

Old Feb 7th 2011, 1:00 am
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Default Our experience of having a baby

So we've just had our second baby born here, with quite different insurance plans.

Our first was a great plan, I paid $65 a month including dental but found out COBRA for the medical plan was $1500 a month when I got laid off. Baby only cost $20 co-pay at the doctors office and as they were affiliated with the hospital, we didn't have to pay one there on top. Had no deductible either and it was 100% insurance.

We're currently on another "great plan" but it is costing us $400 a month. So far, the OB was considered a specialist so the co-pay was $35.

The first set of blood tests which we just got the bill for was $540 and we owe $35 of that.

As we had a premie, who is now in NICU, it'll all depend on how the insurance will view it, it'll either be 100% covered or it'll be a 90/10 split till we reach our $2500 deductible on emergency care, which we couldn't afford, so that'll be interesting.

The missus had the option of changing to a cheaper "good" plan in November, had to sign up by 1st Dec for a 1st Jan start, would have saved us $100 a month, but would have been a 80/20 split in coverage till hitting a higher deductible or a 90/10 split depending on emergency or not. The other big difference between the wife's plans were the better one having a nationwide "in" network whilst the cheaper one was only within the state and with folks up in Maine, we didn't want to risk it with a lot of trips out of state.

Other expenses so far, parking max's out at $25 a day, which is pretty cheap for the area, but a few hours parking has been costing us $10 a shot so far. Though now that the little one will be staying longer than a week, we're allowed to get the 7 day parking pass which was $25.

Observations about the care, well the hospital is one of the best in the country for premies, so we got lucky that was in network. The care has been superb and the nurses awesome.

When we arrived, there was an check up room to get the vitals and ask about epidurals etc but there wasn't time for that with us. The delivery room was pretty large, enough room for family to be there if wanted, with a decent sized bath if you wanted to do the water thing. Also cable tv and a Bose sound system.

After the birth, there was still 2 hours worth of paper work that ordinarily would happened before giving birth, but we were a early surprise. It consisted of consent forms, basic medical history, info about PCP/OB doctors and insurance details. We had to wait another couple of hours in the delivery room before moving up to the maternity ward as they had to get a room ready, and then another couple of hours before we could go to the ICU to see the baby as they were doing tests and getting the doctor etc. The maternity room was pretty spacious too, even had a camping bed for spouse and a decent sized shower and they provided all the basics such as tooth brushes etc if you needed them.

The hospital had kitchens for every few rooms, which had free ice cream, lollipops, soups, bread, crackers, coffee/tea, various fruit juices and sodas as well as jelly...baby number one loved that!

Hospital food for the wife was generally pretty good, the cafe at the hospital was also really good and pretty cheap. The canteen was horrid and rather expensive though.

As the little one was in the ICU, the missus was given a breast pump to use whilst in the hospital and after the two day stay, she was given the option of being able to board for 5 days but the insurance wouldn't provide any further medical attention, but we went home and had a prescription for a breast pump. The hospital gave us a basic hand pump, and we had a cheapo rubbish one from before, which still works well enough. Our current insurance would only pay 90% of the rental fee, which was $100 but I can't remember if that was per week or month, but the insurance would only pay after meeting a $500 deductible on "stuff". My old insurance would have just brought a breast pump up to $400, which these hospital ones cost, but we didn't have a medical need back then, bugger.

Other hospital related fee's, we didn't do birth classes etc for this one, but on our first one, the hospital charged $90 per person for the prenatal classes and my insurance at the time would reimburse the mother only after completing the class and sending in a certificate. Other people had the whole thing covered, others not at all.

This class included a tour of the hospital maternity/delivery rooms etc, which other wise the hospital would have charged $50 I think, or a little more. Our insurance at the time also covered the hospital class on bathing the baby and nappy care, no idea on those costs, but Babies R Us do those classes for free too. The hospital also did infant CPR classes at $100 a person, but our insurance wouldn't cover it because our town offered those classes twice a year for free for town residents, which we did. Look into the YMCA as they often offer the classes too!

Security at the hospital is very hidden, but uber tight, no getting to certain floors without a security bracelet given to parents, photo ID to match the name on bracelet and name on file before getting anywhere near the babies for the first time etc. That was quite comforting.

One thing that annoyed us though, we had the two scans and was offered a third scan. Our OB is in a different practice to when we had first kid, there they had their own equipment, now, office is in the hospital and they use a third party scanning company based in the hospital. The OB and the doctor at the scanning company said we didn't need a third scan, but because we were going to be there for a doctors check up and paying for the parking anyway, we could have another scan. The OB said it was because they needed the money and were only doing it because our insurance would have paid the whole thing and it costs them $900 a scan. That was a big WTF moment, seriously, that is taking the mick that A) they would do that and B) $900 for less than a half hour?

In the end we didn't need it because baby came early, which reminds me, I don't think we got around to cancelling the appointment, that was supposed to be yesterday, hope they don't charge us for missing it

Oh and ambulance. We didn't use one, because going into labour, with some exceptions, isn't considered a medical emergency, so there would have been a $400 call out charge to use one and they would have taken us to the nearest hospital rather than to a specific one of choice, which would have meant in this case going to a meat wagon of a hospital, as it specialises in old people. The first time around, it would have been the local ER hospital because it's a mile closer, but it's a rubbish hospital too.

We have a lot of friends who have recently had babies in various hospitals and talking to them, quality of care and level of comfort ranges massively from being great to quite bare bones and rubbish, so top tip, chose the best hospital you can that is covered by your insurance!

I guess now the fun begins seeing what other bills start arriving and what the NICU comes too...it's been a week so far.


TLR? Insurance ranged from cheap to not cheap, care was generally very good but there were a few big WTF moments.
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 1:27 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Great write up Bob! Congrats again on your new baby.
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 1:31 am
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Thumbs up Re: Our experience of having a baby

Wow Bob - I had no idea that you and your wife were having a new baby - Congratulations!

I hope all is well with mother and baby

Is your new baby a boy or a girl? Have you decided on a name?
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 1:36 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
Wow Bob - I had no idea that you and your wife were having a new baby - Congratulations!

I hope all is well with mother and baby

Is your new baby a boy or a girl? Have you decided on a name?
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=703959

We had a little girl, 6 weeks premature, last Sunday, so she's in NICU, will be for another couple of weeks at least, but is doing well

Mother is doing great and baby number one is getting used to the idea nicely

And we called her Persephone
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 1:50 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Interesting read since I'm due in August - thanks for the detailed information!
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 1:58 am
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Cool Re: Our experience of having a baby

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=703959

We had a little girl, 6 weeks premature, last Sunday, so she's in NICU, will be for another couple of weeks at least, but is doing well

Mother is doing great and baby number one is getting used to the idea nicely

And we called her Persephone
Duh! I'm so stupid! Actually I wasn't on BE during the past week as my
Aussie expat friend (who is VP of Finance for a timeshare company) allowed me to stay in a timeshare suite in New York City free of charge as he couldn't use it... I didn't take my laptop, just my iPhone - so didn't really use the internet (too much going on in NYC) and therefore missed your announcement.

I love the name of your new baby girl! (I bet she will end up being called "Peppy" for short....)
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 2:00 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Oh and some additional bits and pieces.

If you're discharged early, that's within 48 hours for a regular birth or 96 hours for a C-section, in MA at least, you're entitled to one home nurse visit within 24 hours as long as you are not visiting your PCP/Paediatrician within 24 hours.

When we did the pre-natal classes, I asked the doctor there if they did home visits and he said no because insurance wouldn't cover it, but if you really wanted it, he'd do it for $1000. I asked him about the whole post natal depression and he said that wasn't his concern as he would only check on the baby and you'd need to see your own PCP/specialist.

He was an arsehole, I doubt anyone else would be that mercenary about it. But you really do need to bring up your concerns with your own doctor. The thing is, often baby will see a Peds doctor and you'd see a PCP and they would usually not be the same. In our case, all our PCP's are also certified Ped's, which is why we went with that practice so we wouldn't have to go to various different doctors offices.

In MA at the very least, babies regular 10 day, month/2/3/6+ check ups have to be seen by their regular Peds doctor, so it's a bugger if they happen to be on holiday or are sick and you have to reschedule, in our case it can mean waiting another 6 months. Regular sickness you can see any doctor. Because our insurance says you have to have x minimum between health checkups, which is now 6 months, it's meant when the doctor had to re-schedule for a holiday once, we're now out of sync for baby 1 by 5 months and can't get back in sync.
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 2:03 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Originally Posted by NatashaB View Post
Interesting read since I'm due in August - thanks for the detailed information!
Congrats and good luck!
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 2:05 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
Duh! I'm so stupid! Actually I wasn't on BE during the past week as my
Aussie expat friend (who is VP of Finance for a timeshare company) allowed me to stay in a timeshare suite in New York City free of charge as he couldn't use it... I didn't take my laptop, just my iPhone - so didn't really use the internet (too much going on in NYC) and therefore missed your announcement.

I love the name of your new baby girl! (I bet she will end up being called "Peppy" for short....)
Score for the free digs, very nice!

And Peppy, not thought of that, we'd started calling her Saffy though, but I like Peppy too!
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 2:43 am
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Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Score for the free digs, very nice!

And Peppy, not thought of that, we'd started calling her Saffy though, but I like Peppy too!
Yes, I love the name 'Peppy'.....I'd first heard of it when my spouse was working in London and his colleague was called Peppy. We later found out that her real name was Perpetua... (which I think is an ancient Greek or Latin name. This Peppy was a bit posh, had a cut-glass accent LOL!)

I've just seen the photo of your new baby...she's lovely! How is her big sister feeling about having a new baby in the family?
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 2:43 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
So we've just had our second baby born here...
Mazel tov!

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Old Feb 7th 2011, 4:30 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
I've just seen the photo of your new baby...she's lovely! How is her big sister feeling about having a new baby in the family?
She's taking it pretty well, for now She was asking to see photo's of her baby sister today as she's only seen her through the door window the once at the ICU. They aren't allowing under 18's in the ICU because of flu season. She had been a bit chilly about the idea till a couple of days ago though
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 4:38 am
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Oh yeah, thought I'd mentioned this already, but maternity leave.

All depends on the state, in MA, it's 3 weeks unpaid minimum, plus potential for 8 weeks of short term disability if you qualify, which is at 60% pay for us.

The missus is using her banked 2 weeks of holiday she carried over from last year that had to be used before the end of this year and will use a weeks holiday and use one week maternity, and then a month of short term disability, can't afford that really, so we'll see. As the little one is in ICU for a couple of weeks at least, she's going to see if she can work part time and then take maternity leave once we get to bring the little one home rather than wasting all the time now.

She only had so much time banked because last year she was an assistant manager until work consolidated locations and she got demoted but kept pay and the annual PTO time for the year...back to regular amounts now.

What's really depressing, looking through benefits book, some states are much better for either amount of time and/or amount of money, we seem to be one of the worst. Those in Canada get a year paid though...jealous, much!
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Glad to hear the little one is doing well Bob, and really enjoyed reading your post. Keep us posted
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Old Feb 7th 2011, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Our experience of having a baby

Congrats! Consular birth registration? On second thoughts let's not go there!

Reading your post reminded me of the single worst thing about living in the US - dealing with medical insurance. Medical care itself is usually very good but medical insurance issues are the real pain.
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