(This first appeared on The Standard Newspaper on August 7, 2016)
Not every expectant mother has a medical insurance cover by the time of her delivery. Most insurance companies do not cover pregnancy if you are pregnant at the time of application. But let us assume you are among the few with ‘adequate’ medical cover. When the time comes, do you think you can walk to the hospital of your choice and deliver? Unfortunately, you cannot. Institutions have made it a business to make money out of people in their desperate time. Unless you are well prepared you might end up paying an arm and leg for a normal procedure.
Here are things you should do well ahead of your due date.
- Call your insurance company to find out exactly what is covered and what is not. Ask for the list of hospitals you can go to and do a thorough research on them. Once you choose the hospital, the insurance must write a commitment letter to the hospital, offering to cover your medical costs and that of the newborn.
- If you have your own doctor, make sure that she/he has the admitting right to the hospital of your choice so she/he can write a booking/admittance letter to the hospital.
FACT: Your Doctor charges differently based on the hospital you chose.
- Insist for details from your doctor about her/his fees as well as other doctors she/he might bring along
- Since your doctor will come with his/her own team, ask if you can bring your own pediatrician (who also has the right to work at the hospital), if you have chosen one already
- GO to the hospital personally to learn about their facilities, service charges as well as payment system.
- Even if you have had an easy pregnancy and are expecting a normal delivery, prepare for the worst case mentally and financially because your insurance has a limit.
FACT: NHIF covers 4000KSH per day for hospital bed charges.