The Money Part Starts…

 

Everyone says it’s expensive to have a child.

Duh.

But, as some (most) of my friends have had babies in the last couple of years, they’ve given me even more of a heads up to expect.

I’m pretty diligent about understanding my insurance, what’s available to me, what I’m responsible for paying.

I knew some time ago that I COULD be on the hook for up to $5,000 in maternity care-related expenses. I knew this.

And then, tonight – just now, in fact – in my Inbox. The “Explanation of Benefits” email from United HealthCare. No big deal. Sign in. Look at how much it cost, how much my insurance paid and, like always, go to the ‘how much patient owes’ line.

The following figure: $1,872.00

WTF!?!!!!???

Ok, keep calm. Knew this was coming. Keep reading.

Alright. The doctor’s office evidently discounts the service (this wasn’t the ultrasound folks, this was my allegedly 17 week checkup (those of us in the know, know it was really 19 weeks, but…whatev’s). By the way, the doctor admitted to Jon and I at an earlier checkup that the appointment before 20 and at 24 weeks are the biggest wastes of time as you’ve just had a comprehensive ultrasound in between and they don’t do anything other than charge you to pee in a cup and lay down and have our belly measured.

I DID have bloodwork done…but I don’t even know if this is what that’s for.

Download a PDF…nope, not sure what UG stands for other than “We’re Not Paying”. Oh, I know. It stands for ‘Ugh’.

Yup, got it United HealthCare.

The ultimate billed amount on this particular bill is…: $607.04.

I have $243.76 until I reach my “In Network Deductible” and $3,743.76 until I reach my “Quality/Efficiency Out of Pocket”…again, I’m not sure if I’m gunning for the extra $243.76 or the $3K as MY maximum to pay out.

This leads me to wonder to myself: If we had national healthcare, what would this cost me?

Higher taxes?

Ok. Higher taxes.

I’ll play along. I’ve done my homework into tax rates over the last 100 years. We are at the lowest since HOOVER was in office…and HOOVER is credited with the Great Depression. And then, the tax rate spiked. And, as a result we got the following:

A military industrial complex rivaled by NO OTHER COUNTRY.

An interstate highway system.

A higher education system that began to make education accessible (though not affordable) to the masses.(We could tack on civil rights and Title IX, but that’s really for a different post).

Social Security

Medicare

Infrastructure in the mode of: airports, train stations and railways, electricity grids.

I did a little homework awhile back. Here’s what I know about the taxes in our country:

Making $50,000 in 2010, you expect to pay 25% in federal taxes.

Adjusted for inflation, this means that you would have paid the following rates (these years were selected because there were major changes to the tax code that went into effect that year):

2000: 31%
1982: 35%
1965: 28%
1945: 29%
1929: 3%
**For the record, 1982 the economic messiah called Ronald Reagan was in office. HIGHEST TAXES EVER, in the history of the U.S.

So, now I wondered again…and haven’t answered my own question (just call me Fox News)…how would this change for me with Obama’s Healthcare Plan (I have a hard time calling it ObamaCare…seems like mostly that’s used in a derogatory fashion).

Here’s an article that spells some of it out, though not expansively, in the NY Times.

For me, as a single woman who gets insurance through my employer, nothing changes unless my employer and providers offer a change. Nice.

One of my girlfriends just had Carter Nathan in the UK earlier this month. This is what I found about UK maternity leave:

What time off work am I entitled to in relation to maternity?

Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. The law also provides for 52 weeks’ maternity leave which for all employees is available from day one of employment.

This may be paid leave for the first 39 weeks, provided you have worked continuously for the same employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the child is due. If not then you may be entitled to receive Maternity Allowance: this is also the case if you are self employed or earn below the Lower Earnings Limit.

 

And…they ACTUALLY CALL IT MATERNITY LEAVE. Here in the U.S., we MUST call it what it is…short term disability! Ha! Our HR department wouldn’t refer to it as maternity leave and would only reference short term disability, whose acronym: STD, is just lovely when you’re talking about going out on MATERNITY LEAVE.

So, back to the earlier tax rate thing…

If we take $50,000 in income in the U.S., that’s like 30,082 pounds in the U.K. With that, the income tax rate (federal/national) is listed at 20%. Keep in mind that the VAT in the U.K. (value added tax) is 20% – which is on alleged ‘luxury goods’ (not essentials like children’s clothing and food).

I’m sure this MUST be over-simplifying it…but the U.K. offers national healthcare, 52 weeks MATERNITY LEAVE (at least 39 weeks paid, starting from day one…the U.S. only protects after 12 months of continuous employment).

Again, I am faced with a big WTF????!!!!!

And, of course, the bill for $607.04.

Welcome to motherhood!

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