It is one thing to dream and think about how nice it would be to have a baby and quite another to make the dream a reality. Once things are in motion and a baby is on the way, you are suddenly confronted with a whole new set of challenges. Not only is the body going through changes, but everything in your world will begin to change - and that includes your household finances.
Baby Costs Are Bigger than Buying a House
Financial experts say that purchasing a home is the largest financial investment most people will ever make, but they haven't counted the cost of raising a child, which far exceeds the price of buying a house in the US. Fortunately, the decision to have a child isn't solely based on finances - if it was, you probably wouldn't be having children. However, adding a new member to the family can be a stress on the financial picture. The good news is that the stress can be reduced by handling the financial factor well.
Reduced Incomes and Short-Term Medical Insurance
One of the first basic considerations is to determine how you'll manage with a reduced income which results from time off for both pregnancy and birth. Check with your employer to see if there is coverage for short-term disability insurance, which covers pregnancy. Typically a person will receive between 60 - 70 percent of their gross income for about six weeks following the birth of the baby. If the company does not have insurance, they are still required to allow time off but they are not necessarily required to pay for it. Plan out your income for the period of time you will not be working and consider your expenses for that same period in order to determine whether you'll have enough money to make ends meet.
Do You Have Medical Insurance?
Medical insurance coverage may cover some or most of the medical and hospital costs, but there will likely be some costs that come out of your pocket. Check your policy to see how much is covered, what you can expect in terms of assistance and what your liability will be. Consider deductibles, co-pays (the balance you pay after the insurance company has paid their part) and be sure to find out the cost of adding another dependent to your group medical insurance policy. If you and your spouse are both working and have separate medical insurance policies, check to see if it is viable for everyone to be on one policy or if splitting the coverage between two policies is better.
What If I'm Not Insured? Health Care for Baby
If you do not have health insurance and you are pregnant, it is very difficult to purchase insurance because companies regard pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. American women can, however, obtain Medicaid before delivery. Some is better than none, so this is a consideration if you are not insured.
Medical Insurance Important for Baby, Too
Remember that babies are susceptible to infections and disease, so having proper medical coverage for your baby is very important.