Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate
Fatima Mehdikarimi, founder of ShoppingQueen.com, helps others find deals, but as a self-employed entrepreneur, she opted out of the maternity clause in her private health insurance coverage.
“And then we found out: Oops, I’m pregnant,” Mehdikarimi said .
An experienced negotiator and deal finder, she decided to try to negotiate with her doctors and hospital on the cost of delivering her baby. “This was my second baby, so there were many things I didn’t feel I needed such as birthing classes,” Mehdikarimi said. “Keep in mind that savings thousands takes many hours of negotiation and research.”
Mehdikarimi said she used a reverse pyramid model, tackling the largest expenses first. She had used a hospital in her city of Atlanta, which has a high rate of births per year, to deliver her first baby.
Mehdikarimi said the concept of supply and demand works in the medical field as well. “When I talked to this hospital, they had such a demand they didn’t need to negotiate with me,” she said. “I went to a new hospital that was trying to build its patients and they were willing to negotiate.”
She was able to negotiate a rate of $3,000 for the hospital delivery, which is significantly lower than the national average cost. Mehdikarimi didn’t feel as if the quality of her care suffered either, and she was in the hospital for the average maternity stay of two days and two nights.