A mom asked: “My husband and I have only major medical insurance that doesn’t cover maternity/childbirth costs. We are pregnant (yay!), but wanted to know if anyone out there had any advice on the best way or place to go about a self-pay childbirth? We would also like any tips, average costs, etc.”


As usual, the moms had lots of great suggestions.

Talk With Providers

  • Just keep good lines of communication open with your OB & the hospital. Our maternity insurance was 60/40 so we had to pay a significant chunk. Hospitals have one billing rate for the insurance companies & another rate for self-pay. Usually your OB will allow you to pay in payments up through your 7th month or so. I recall our OB fee was around $3500 total, plus $1200 for epidural paid to anesthesiologist, plus the hospital fee. Our first born had to go to the NICU & that’s where our major medical kicked in & covered most of that.
  • Had the same issue with my pregnancy with my daughter- OB set up a cash payment plan for her services including delivery. Hospital wanted payment up front when per-registering. Ended up needing a Csection due to daughters size and major medical had to cover it! All in all, I believe we paid around $6000.

Home Birth with Midwife

  • Have you considered a home birth? There are several very well-qualified midwifery groups in the city. For a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, it is shockingly safer to deliver at home than in a hospital (or at least just as safe, depending on which study you look at). My homebirths cost me about $3800 for all prenatal care, delivery, and 6 weeks post partum.
  • Depending on your risk level and the kind of birth you are hoping/planning for, a midwife (which would necessitate a home birth) may be an affordable option and less likely to result in interventions, etc.

Government & Community Programs

  • I had this issue rather recently, and here is what I found out: To get TennCare, you must go before the health dept with proof of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood $10.00. The list of ob/gyns who take TennCare were not rated well, when I Googled. I am sure they are fine, however, I was worried about being of an ‘advanced age,’ and their reviews were less than stellar. My regular ob, Dr. Michael Stack, was willing to work with me and suggested the pre pay programs offered at hospitals. Good luck and enjoy this special time!
  • U can get tncare. U may have to pay for it. But much cheaper than normal ins. Apply at tn.gov
  • CoverKids Maternity is an option.
  • Apply for Medicaid. The requirements are not as strict when pregnant because Shelby county is trying to make sure EVERYONE has access to prenatal care.
  • Depending on your income, you may qualify for CoverKids. It’s MUCH better coverage than TennCare, so almost all the major OB/GYN groups will take it, even the ones that won’t take TennCare.
  • Christ Community has some great Dr.s , it’s WAY cheap and you deliver at the MED.
  • Christ community is what we’ll be going with if and when that time comes for us again. Mostly because they accept VBAMC patients. Also, if youre without complications
  • call bcbs cover kids. its amazing if u qualify. ur covered up to 3 months after birth. and the baby is always covered after birth.

Providers with Plans

  • Trilium women’s care has a birthing center which runs somewhere around $5,000 for pregnancy AND birth.
  • Baptist Women’s also has what is called a Wee Care plan if you qualify- one set fee at reduced rate for your hospital costs (does not cover classes or your physician- Frankie King at number below or Angela at 227 -9124 can give you details
  • Baptist women’s has a plan where you can pay installments prior to the birth. Call Frankie king at 227-9638
  • I got in touch with baptist woman’s hospital. They have a wee care program were you can Pre pay the hospital. Plus you can inform your obgyn that you will be self paying and they can sometimes give you a break. Also there are tests that are not necessary. I think I paid about $5000.00. Congrats on the baby!
  • With my first ten years ago I went to birthright and they told me about the baby bundle plan at St Francis, you might want to start there. Birthright gave me so much useful information.
  • Ok, I called three hospitals and you would not believe the discounts they give if you prepay cash. It would cost less at St. Francis without maternity coverage than if you have it with a 4k deductible. All of these are with no complications, 2 day stay for Mom and baby. Here are the quotes: St.F: 3400.00 including anesthesia. Baptist East: 3300.00 w/o anesthesia. Methodist Germantown: 3600.00 w/o anesthesia. From what I’ve gathered anesthesia runs anywhere from 800-1800.00. Maternity insurance for the entire pregnancy would run around 200 per month for around 41 weeks about 2000, plus the deductible (I was quoted 4000). OBGYN runs between 2000-3000. What the hospitals told me was that they charge the insurance around 10,000-16,000, then negotiate from there. Hope this helps someone! Depending on how good your insurance is, it may be beneficial to negotiate directly with OBGYN and hospital vs. paying premiums and deductibles.