Womenz Magazine

Woman says her husband refused to help pay her $8K hospital bill after giving birth as she ‘caved’ and got an epidural: 3 tips to prepare for unexpected health costs

Woman says her husband refused to help
Photograph: Peter Flude/The Guardian

A 32-year-old mother said on the Reddit subforum “Am I the A-Hole” that she is thinking of “ending her marriage.” The woman was given an epidural as well as birth support services like nursery time, a lactation consultant, postpartum supplies, and even hospital meals and blood tests. Aren’t these necessities?

They’re not if you’re her spouse. Her husband supposedly criticized her for taking such “luxury” treatment after seeing the $8,000 cost. He also claimed she “caved” after having an epidural in her 24th hour of labor, despite the fact that he had supported it at the time. As a result, he ordered that the cost be taken from her personal savings account since “he shouldn’t have to pay for all of [her] extra requests.”

Is a few thousand bucks worth 14 years of a failed relationship? Even though this is the best example, it’s undeniable that money claims permeate most, if not all, relationships, especially when a large bill surprises the couple. The lesson is simple: It is important to plan for unforeseen medical bills. Here’s how to organize your funds before disaster strikes.

The Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged fund that allows you to save for medical bills. Contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals for eligible medical costs are tax-free, so you’ll save money the moment you withdraw cash to pay a bill.

According to the IRS, the contribution limits for 2023 are $3,850 for people and $7,750 for families. This is an increase from the $3,650 and $7,300 limits in 2022. The HSA may be used to help you save money not only for short-term medical bills but also to develop a buffer over time.

This is because HSA money can be invested in stocks and bonds. Of course, you’ll always consult with a reliable financial adviser before opening an account.

Exploring the ClearHealthCosts website will show you how much a medical procedure may vary in cost within the same metro area or region, often by a factor of ten or more. Furthermore, statistics reported in Harvard Magazine show that even pre-COVID, $3.5 trillion was spent on healthcare in America — with a third of that wasted.

While ClearHealthCosts continues to cover a limited number of places in the United States, it may be the greatest online comparison shopping tool for medical treatments. It also teaches you how to dispute a bill, something the spouse with sticker shock should have done before his outburst.

Yes, reviewing your health insurance policies is good. It will help you comprehend your coverage and the prospective expenses of medical treatments if you do it on a regular basis. Examine the deductible, copays, and coinsurance payments, which can vary greatly from plan to plan.

According to eHealth 2020 research, the average deductible for individual health insurance plans is $4,364, which is consistent with 2016 statistics. In terms of basic coverage, this is good news. However, if long-term hospitalization expenditures or significant procedures are only partially covered or have an extensive deductible, you should assess your plan and maybe transfer coverage.

It seems right to seek advice from a healthcare professional you know and trust in this situation. Do your own research as well, using reliable sites such as ClearHealthCosts and major news outlets that may guide you in the right direction.

This should help you get started. At the very least, we now know what not to do. Just ask the new father. He could be on his way to finding out how a hissy fit over an $8,000 bill leads to a much, much costlier divorce settlement.

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