A Mostly Financial Pregnancy Timeline and The First Four Months Of Life: My Experience As A New Dad
This past year has been quite an adventure. I got married. I just finished school yesterday. And today is my son is four months old. I’ve been chronicling what’s been going on, relying heavily on things such as medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits to fit things into a neat timeline. Hence the whopper of a title A Mostly Financial Pregnancy Timeline and The First Four Months Of Life: My Experience As A New Dad.
I swear, this must be the longest title yet.
Monday, August 28, 2017
My wife’s OB/GYN orders bloodwork to confirm that she is pregnant. Initially, the lab sends the bill to my wife’s previous insurer, which promptly gets denied. My wife is has been on my insurance since we got married. Things are processed correctly once the bill is sent to the correct insurance.
This costs $23.80.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
We have the first ultrasound done in the OB/GYN’s office. This is the first time we see our son.
Me holding images of the first ultrasound.
Together with some blood work done by an outside lab, this cost $264.23.
Friday, October 27, 2017
My wife has a quad test completed, which comes back negative for any defects.
I tried to find out how much this test would cost ahead of time, but it turns out that’s impossible. I found out the test code and called the insurance. The insurance told me they didn’t know and to call the provider, so I did. The provider, in turn, told me they didn’t know, and to call the insurance.
What I could find ask the provider is how much they will bill the insurance. Interestingly enough, they bill more for a triple test than a quad test, even though the quad test includes the same three tests in the triple test, plus another test.
The insurance is billed $807.80, but only $40.56 of that is paid. We’re in an HDHP, so we pay the forty dollars.
Monday, November 20, 2017
The first-trimester ultrasound is done. We also find out the gender of the baby (it’s a boy!).
This ultrasound was done in an office in the same building as the OB/GYN. It cost $214.76 for the doctor and $540.27 for the hospital, totaling $755.03.
We pretty much got the hospital bill right away but didn’t get the doctor bill until almost a month later.
Friday, December 15, 2017
The doctor’s EOB for the first-trimester ultrasound is processed. We got the bill soon after.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
We pay the OB/GYN an “estimated” payment of $2,337.50.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
I withdrawal money from my HSA to cover the estimated payment made to the OB/GYN.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
My wife orders a breast pump, which is fully paid for by our insurance company.
Monday, February 26, 2018
The third and final ultrasound is done, in the same office as the first-trimester ultrasound (but not the initial ultrasound).
We were told if we make the estimated payment to the hospital at the time of service, we’d receive a 10% discount, so we do so. Nevertheless, we end up receiving a bill for the remaining amount due (over a $200 difference from the estimated amount) and receive no discount.
While we had an EOB of $132.75 for the ultrasound doctor, we never receive a bill. It turns out they took the payment from the estimated payment we made earlier this month to the OBGYN.
Total cost for this ultrasound visit, which includes payment to the hospital ($565.43) and the doctor ($132.75) is $698.18.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
My wife feels something is wrong with the baby, so we head to the hospital.
Total bill for this visit is $1,816.78.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Again, my wife feels something is wrong with the baby, so we head back to the hospital.
Note: At no time did I feel like this trip or the March 11th trip was a waste of time or money. If you’re pregnant and feel as if something is wrong with your baby, don’t hesitate to go to the maternity ward at the hospital and get checked out.
This time, the bill is only $479.60. This is because this visit caused us to reach our deductible, meaning until we reach the out-of-pocket max, we’re only responsible for 20% of any medical bills. The insurance company is responsible for any remaining amount.
Monday, March 26, 2018
My wife goes into labor around 7 am, and we head to the hospital.
At 3:56 pm, my son is born.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
We have photos taken of the new guy (and us!). It was a bit pricey - $145! - but we thought it was worth it. We were able to see the photos before we bought them, so that was a huge plus.
An expensive photo of the little guy.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
We go home from the hospital. The total cost for our stay here ends up being $2,294.46.
It’s not a simple as making a single $2,294,46 payment. It turns out we originally overpaid the OB/GYN, and the insurance company initially denies every service in my son’s name since I haven’t had the chance to put him on my insurance yet.
Thursday, March 29, 2018.
My son has his first pediatrician appointment outside of the hospital. This is a normal appointment and is coded as preventative, so the insurance fully covers it.
However, is bilirubin levels are high, so he has to come in every day for a couple of days to make sure the bilirubin levels are declining. Thankfully, they do decline, although the little guy doesn’t like having his foot pricked every day for three days straight.
Friday, March 30, 2018.
We have his bilirubin levels checked. They’re on the decline but still too high.
Saturday, March 31, 2018
The last day of the little guy getting his foot pricked. His bilirubin levels are at an acceptable level.
This results in two EOBs of $1.09 and one EOB of $9.49. However, we only get billed for the $9.49 - the lab simply wrote off the two buck-oh-nine bills since they were so small.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
My son has a pediatrician appointment. This is also a normal appointment and is coded as preventative, so the insurance fully covers it.
Monday, April 9, 2018
My son had to get his belly button cauterized during his doctor’s visit. This is the only visit to the pediatrician that we had an out-of-pocket expense since the cauterization wasn’t considered “preventative.”
We ended up owing $24.15.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The EOB for my wife giving birth - the “estimated” charge the OB/GYN had us pay $2,337.50 back in February - is processed. The actual amount is $957.76.
This means we overpaid $1,379.74.
I also went to get a copy of my son’s birth certificate. There is a $22 fee to get a copy. However, both my wife and I are listed on the birth certificate as the mother. In other words, the birth certificate states that my son has two mothers.
At first I thought this was a template issue, but apparently this has to do with gay marriage being legalized. This made me realize a birth certificate is a legal document, not a medical document.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
I pick up a copy of the corrected birth certificate.
Friday, April 13, 2018
The insurance company finished reprocessing the previously denied hospital claim for my son. We owe $78.29, not the entire $10,159.54.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
We received a bill from the hospital for that $10,159.54. If I hadn’t been on top of things, there is no way I would have known I don’t actually owe ten grand.
Please pay ten grand. No.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
The little guy turns one month old.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
We start getting past due notices from the hospital regarding our bill. Keep in mind we’re still waiting to get our refund from the OB/GYN so we can pay our hospital bills.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
I called the OB/GYN’s billing office to inquire about my overpayment of $1,379.74. I’m told I should expect a refund next Friday, which is May 18.
Friday, May 18, 2018
We open up a 529 College Savings Plan for the little guy and put the minimum allowed to start it - a whopping $25.
Monday, May 21, 2018
The little guy gets his vaccines!
He’s actually in a clinical study for the meningitis vaccine. This means all his vaccines are paid for, plus he gets the meningitis vaccine. Oh, and he gets paid, too. That’s right - before the age of two months, the little guy has a job!
We put the money he earns into his 529 College Savings Plan.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
I called the OB/GYN’s billing office again to ask about the refund. I’m told they’re waiting to see if there’s an amount to be billed for my wife’s most recent visit and that I should expect the refund on Friday.
We get another past due notice from the hospital.
Friday, May 25, 2018
Seeing no refund, I call the OB/GYN’s billing office. Unfortunately, I called in the afternoon, and the office closes at noon on Fridays.
So I call my insurance company to see if there’s anything they can do. A conference call is set up for Tuesday so the insurance company representative, the billing office employee, and I can all speak at once. (Monday is Memorial Day, so no one is working that day.)
My son also has his two-month checkup today.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
The little guy turns two months old.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
The insurance representative, the OB/GYN’s billing office employee, and I all speak on a telephone conference call.
The refund of $1,245.35 from my wife’s OB/GYN is initiated.
Friday, June 1, 2018
The $1,245.35 refund shows up as a credit on my credit card.
Saturday, June 2, 2018
We get another past due notice from the hospital - this one is marked “2nd Past Due Notice.”
I said patience!
June 7, 2018
I paid the $1,816.78 balance towards the March 11, 2018 hospital visit.
June 14, 2018
I paid the balance $479.60 towards the March 15, 2018 hospital visit.
I also paid $20.40 towards her hospital bill on March 26th, 2018.
Why only $20.40? I bought a $500 MasterCard gift card from the grocery store, and this quarter was 5% back at grocery stores with the Chase Freedom card. Even with the $5.95 activation fee, I’ll end up ahead if I had used my Chase Freedom Ultimate (1.5% cash back on everything) instead:
$505.95 * 5% - $5.95 = $19.3475 $500.00 * 1.5% = $7.50
The $500 was able to pay the $479.60 in full but left a balance of $20.40 on that gift card, so I applied the remaining to the next balance.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
The little guy turns three months old.
Friday, July 6th, 2018
I paid the remaining hospital balance to the amount of $1,109.06. I actually did something similar to the previous month: bought gift cards (this time Visa) from a store that was in the 5% category for my Chase Freedom card.
Since July is in a different quarter than June, the 5% limit of $1,500 spend per quarter was reset. It was also a different category (Walgreens, gas, and Lyft). I bought three $500 Visa Gift Cards from Walgreens, each with a $5.95 fee, netting me $57.33 in cash back:
3 * ($500 + $5.95) = $1,517.85 $1,500 * 5% + $17.85 * 1% = $75.18 $75.18 - 3 * $5.95 = $57.33
Thursday, July 26, 2018
The little guy turns four months old.