Paying for your baby’s NICU stay

Baby in the NICU

Key Points

Contact your health insurance company to find out what medical costs are covered by your plan.

If your baby isn’t already on your insurance plan, call the company to add her.

If your insurance doesn’t cover all of your baby’s care, you may be able to apply for more insurance or financial aid.

How do you know what NICU costs are covered by your health insurance?

You may start getting bills for your baby’s stay in the newborn intensive care unit (also called NICU) while he’s still in the hospital. This may add to the stress that you’re already feeling about your baby’s health and care. Finding out what your insurance covers can help you manage your stress so you can focus on taking care of your baby.

Health insurance helps pay for medical care. You may get health insurance from your employer, or you may get it from the government or buy it on your own. Contact your insurance company to ask what costs are covered and what costs you need to pay. You can find the company’s phone number on your insurance card or on its website. If your baby’s not already on your plan, call the company to add her.

When you talk to a representative from your health insurance company, ask these questions:

• Does my plan pay for all of my baby’s medical expenses in the NICU?

• Are there services that the plan does not pay for?

• How do we pay the remaining cost?

Take notes when you talk to your health insurance representative. Write down the date of your calls and the names of the people you talk to. Many parents find it helpful to start a folder of letters and bills related to the cost of their baby’s medical care. Keeping everything together in one place can help you stay organized so you can focus on your baby’s care.

What if your health insurance doesn’t cover all of your baby’s care?

If your insurance doesn’t cover all services for your baby, ask the NICU social worker or case manager what to do. A social worker is a person who is trained to help families cope with their baby’s NICU stay. A social worker helps families find resources and services to help them care for their baby. A case manager is a person who may oversee a baby’s discharge from the hospital and help set up home-care services and supplies.

One or both of these staff can help you work with your insurance company and help plan for your baby’s transition home. They may suggest you apply for more insurance or financial aid, like Medicaid or the Supplemental Security Income Program (also called SSI) offered by Social Security. Your baby may qualify for SSI based on her medical need and your financial resources. For more information about SSI, call 800-772-1213. Having more insurance or financial aid may reduce the amount of money you pay for your baby’s medical bills.

If your insurance doesn’t cover all your bills, talk to someone from the hospital’s finance department about setting up a payment plan.

Last reviewed: January, 2019

See also: Share your story