Help us Pay the Cost of Birth

We are a family of three (soon to be four) living in northwest Illinois. We are hardworking people. Larissa is a librarian at the local public library and Matthew is a computer programmer and 3D graphics designer who works from home. 

We found out we were expecting our second child this past summer and we were very excited! Soon afterwards we realized that we were uninsured and finding affordable care was going to be very difficult. Niether of us received insurance from our workplaces.

As we explored the options, my first choice was to use a midwife. Unfortunately, midwives are illegal in Illinois so unless we could find someone's home in Iowa or Wisconsin in which to give birth, the midwife we found could not help us. 

We wanted to avoid option number two. When our daughter was born, we used Illinois Medicaid. We had to travel two hours to the clinic that would accept the Medicaid--the clinic that was in Iowa to boot. Not only did we travel so far, but the level of care and empathy was unacceptable. We felt that we had no choice in our healthcare at all. We were shuffled from test to test with little explanation. When I was five days overdue I was forced into being induced and again given very little explanation. I wanted this pregnancy and birth to be as positive an event as possible. 

I called another nearby clinic only to find out that I was not in their Medicaid "service area" and they could not treat me. I asked if we could pay cash until we figured out what our plan was and they told me no since I was elligible for Medicaid, they could not take cash. 

The midwife we spoke with recommended a family practice and hospital in Wisconsin. It was only about 45 minutes away and she called them a "friendly," meaning they would work with me on the insurance isssue. I made an appointment with them and began to look into purchasing an individual insurance plan with maternity care. 

While I was receiving exactly the kind of empathetic and informative care I was looking for during maternity, I was calling insurance companies and attempting to purchase an affordable package. This was right before the "Affordable Care Act" was to take effect. I was told to wait until I could "shop" the Marketplace after October 1st. October 1st came and went and I was unable to use the website because of all the gliches on it's launch date. Finally towards the end of December, I was able to make an account and go through the application. 

What I found out was that I did not fall into the income bracket that would allow me to purchase a Marketplace plan. It was either Medicaid or paying full price for the new plans, which ran $200 - $300 a month for the premiums and had at least $6,000 deductibles. These insurance companies would not take my money and I calculated that after I paid the deductible and the premium every month, it would be less expensive for me just pay the hospital. 

The next step was to talk with the hospital. They recommended that I apply for a program they have that would waive a portion of or the entire cost of delivery. Since I was eligible for Medicaid in Illinois, I would be a special case. They gave me hope saying that perhaps the state of Illinois would cover the costs since my case was strange. I turned in the application and about three weeks later (four days before my due date) received a letter denying my application because I am eligible for Medicaid and therefore can deliver elsewhere. 

So after all that, we are back to square one and could deliver any day now. The options at this point are (1) deliver in the terrible hospital that is two hours away (2) wait until delivery is right about to happen and deliver in a closer hospital ER (3) deliver as planned in Wisconsin and pay $800 a month for the next year which is the most unrealistic of all since I have no idea where that money would come from, or (4) deliver as planned and pay the bill within 25 days to receive a 25% discount. 

The last option is what we are asking for help accomplishing. We have decided to choose our healthcare instead of being forced into a system and we are trying our hardest to follow through with this choice. Even with the discount the birth will cost an estimated $9,000. 

Please consider making a small donation toward this cause. Please help us keep our ability to make choices involving our healthcare and the care of our soon to be born baby.
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Organizer

Larissa Distler 
Organizer
Galena, IL
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