A hidden cost of multiple pregnancies is that your infants frequently deliver preterm. New parents of multiple babies born prematurely often need immediate financial assistance to cope with the unexpected expenses.
You can find many articles elsewhere listing commonly cited resources to help with the medical and non-medical costs of twins, triplets, and babies confined in neonatal intensive care (NICU).
Given the enormity of the monetary struggles you are facing, you may want to explore a few alternative approaches not already covered.
You will find several unique options in this article. We wish you good luck!
Financial Support for Parents of Premature Babies
Financial support for parents of premature babies becomes crucial when your infant spends time confined in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) for an extended period. Look under every conceivable rock because expenses add up quickly.
You may face unreimbursed medical expenses such as insurance deductibles and out of network charges from specialty doctors and other hospital contractors. Unexpected non-medical expenses such as travel, parking, and lodging are often a problem as well. Now add in lost income for both mom and dad, who often must stop working or lose their jobs.
Help from Private Companies
Many private companies provide a form of financial help to parents of premature infants. This is not charity. You pay for the benefit. Choose wisely, and act quickly to take advantage of these opportunities.
Debt Relief Programs
Debt relief application. If you accumulate more than $10,000 in unpaid medical bills and/or unsecured credit card debt, a settlement program could offer financial help. The company can negotiate on your behalf with hospitals, doctor groups, and banks.
They specialize in working out agreements whereby your creditors agree to reduce what you owe in exchange for partial payment.
Health Insurance Plans
Parents of premature babies frequently lose their group health insurance when they can least afford for this to happen. Mom stops working to recover from labor and delivery and often extends her leave to care for her preemies at home. Dad may make the same choice.
FMLA protects group medical plans for only 12 weeks, and many mothers and fathers do not qualify for this form of vital financial assistance at all. Either they work for a small business, or they recently changed jobs.
Request a health insurance quote. Loss of group health insurance is a qualifying life event. You qualify to change plans during a special enrollment period. The new individual plan must cover any pre-existing condition with no waiting period.
You may also be eligible for income-based premium and cost-sharing subsidies. COBRA coverage is very expensive by comparison, as you lose the employer contribution towards the premium.
If you do not need to change your plan, make certain to notify the existing carrier about your newborns within 30 days of birth. Coverage will expire after this time, so do not delay.
Maternity Leave Loans
Request a maternity leave loan for extra funding to cover your bills while you care for your babies in the NICU or at home. You will need to pay the lender back with interest once your finances stabilize. Therefore, plan accordingly and do not over-extend yourself. Borrow only as much as you can confidently pay back with interest and fees once both parents can return to work.
Supplemental insurance programs may provide another source of private funding for new parents of premature babies – if you have a policy that you purchased prior to conception. Scour your files at home, and contact the human resources department where you work to uncover every type of coverage you have.
Short-term disability replaces a portion of mom’s income while she recovers from her labor and delivery. Benefits stop once she is physically able to return to work – even if she must stay at home to care for her preemie.
Hospital indemnity insurance can pay a claim check for both mom and her preterm baby. Find further details below in the multiples section of this article.
Critical illness policies may cover an infant with significant medical problems with major organs such as the heart, kidney, or liver.
Government Funding Support
Both federal and state government provide funding programs which help support new parents of newborns which delivery very early. While there is no specific agency or program, you can get some help via creative thinking.
Unemployment compensation is a viable source of government financial aid for new parents of premature babies. Eligibility varies by state. Twenty-two states accepted federal government incentive payments to expand eligibility to workers who voluntarily terminate employment because of a “compelling family reason.”
All twenty-two states define a compelling family reason to include the care of a seriously sick family member. In many cases, a baby born preterm fits this definition, as they frequently have many serious medical issues.
Five states offer temporary disability insurance, which is a government mandated financial assistance program. They replace a portion of mom’s income if her high-risk pregnancy forces her to miss work prior to delivery. It also replaces a portion of earnings while she recovers from labor and delivery, and will extend benefits if complications delay her physical recovery.
Temporary disability does not cover the care of your premature infant. Nor does it cover dad’s paternity leave. These are the five states.
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Family Leave Laws
State-based maternity leave laws often extend and/or expand the job and health insurance protection rights afforded by FMLA – a federal government program. New parents with babies that deliver early find they must take extended time away from work. Lost income and/or lost employment could prove crippling.
- Extend rights by lengthening the amount of job-protected time beyond the standard 12 weeks.
- Expand rights to more workers by loosening the employee size, and hours worked criteria.
As of 2016, three states offered paid family leave programs, California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill during the summer of 2016. At the time of publication, it has yet to be enacted into law.
New parents of premature infants can take advantage of government grants by exploiting the tax code to full advantage. Unreimbursed medical expenses (including travel, hotels, parking, etc.) are tax deductible. You must choose between two strategies with unique pros and cons.
- Flexible Spending Accounts provide first dollar savings – the primary benefit of an FSA.
- You do not need to meet a minimum expense threshold before realizing savings. The birth of a child is a qualifying event, which enables you to boost your election outside of open enrollment.
- Access and contribution limits are the drawbacks. Your employer must offer the benefit. The IRS limits contributions to $2,550 per employee.
- Medical expense deductions on Schedule A offer availability and the potential for greater savings as a benefit.
- Every adult files taxes each April regardless of what programs their employer offers. In addition, those with extraordinarily high expenses can deduct up to their annual income.
- The primary drawback is the deduction threshold. You do not recognize any savings until your expenses exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income.
Supplemental Security Income
The federal government manages the Social Security benefits program along with each state. Low birth weight babies (2 pounds 10 ounces and under) qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits. The child does not need to be born prematurely to qualify.
The state agency may approve immediate benefit payment checks for children meeting the low birth weight criteria. They limit benefits to $30 per month while your baby remains confined to a medical facility such as the NICU.
Financial Assistance for Parents of Twins & Triplets
Financial assistance for the parents of twins and triplets often requires extra creativity – especially when they are born healthy. Healthy infants trigger fewer private and government benefit programs.
Hospital Indemnity Insurance
Hospital indemnity insurance is a great source of financial assistance for multiples. If you purchased a policy prior to conception, file a claim for mom and her twins or triplets. Multiples often deliver early and require specialized care in the NICU. Many policies pay claims for mom’s hospitalization for labor and delivery, and the specialized care for each infant – even if they spend only a single night in the NICU.
Many policies pay a lump sum per confinement. This means a triple benefit for twins and a quadruple benefit for triplets – provided they require specialized care. Read your policy language carefully, particularly the exclusion section. The policy will honor claims only when your infants are injured or sick.
Medicaid is an overlooked source of financial benefits for parents of multiples who think they make too much money. The government program covers low-income families. Eligibility varies by state. Most measure eligibility by the federal poverty guidelines, which depend on family size. Larger families have higher income limits.
Each additional person added to your family increases the annual income limit by $4,160. Therefore, twins increase the limit by $8,320, triplets by $12,480, and quadruplets by $16,640. You may not make too much after all!
|Family Size||Income Limit|
Other Sources of Aid
Many other websites found across the internet publish a list of common resources for parents of multiples born prematurely. The focus of this article is to provide unique alternatives for aid not covered elsewhere. For the sake of completeness, please follow these other links.
- Supplemental Security Income
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Free Baby Supplies & Gifts for Multiples
- Ronald McDonald Houses