Her efforts also paid off with her doctor, anesthesiologist, the lab that handled her tests and blood work and the facility that handled her ultrasound. At the end of the pregnancy and delivery, Mehdikarimi paid less than $7,000 for the birth of her baby.
“People are afraid to negotiate with doctors and hospitals,” said Mehdikarimi, who was even able to negotiate with her doctor based on the fact that the birth only took 10 minutes. “I asked her for a further discount because I didn’t use as much of her time as we originally negotiated.”
Mehdikarimi said the key is to know the system. “Know that every person who touches you will be sending a separate bill,” Mehdikarimi said. “There is a separate charge for the anesthesiologist, the lab, the hospital, the ultrasound, the doctor and any specialist you may see.”
Mehdikarimi had no prescription drug expenses and said she purchased her prenatal vitamins in bulk at a discount warehouse store.
However, she also had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and it wasn’t her first, which helped reduce costs. “I declined the HIV test because I told them I had one during my first pregnancy just two years before and I had only been with my husband,” she said. “We also only had one ultrasound because for us, any result wouldn’t have resulted in a terminated pregnancy.”
What If There Are Complications?
Some studies suggest that up to 10% of women in the U.S. experience infertility problems. Of those, only 25% of couples who need help get it, according to Dr. Elan Simckes, a fertility specialist and founder of The Fertility Partnership near St. Louis in St. Peters, Mo.
Simckes quoted a study done in Europe showing that the average cost of fertility treatments in the U.S. is $13,000-$14,000 per round, while costs in the rest of the western world are just more than $5,000. Simckes said the only country close to the U.S. is Canada, where costs average about $8,000 per round.