Baby-proof your employee benefits

Every expectant parent is filled with many emotions. But many people also are filled with questions and concerns about how to best care for their babies, their families, and themselves.

Aetna has a wealth of information to provide employees and their families with the knowledge they need to prepare for having a baby. Here are some key facts that can help inform and guide people toward better care before, during, and after pregnancy.

Most mothers-to-be don’t review benefits

A survey of 500 expectant mothers with health insurance asked about attitudes and habits regarding preparing for their new baby. A substantial majority of expectant mothers, 71 percent, spend either "no time at all" or less than one hour reviewing their health benefits.

In comparison, 61 percent of expectant mothers spend five or more hours reading baby-related books and magazines. And 43 percent of expectant mothers spend five or more hours shopping for baby accessories and furniture.

The costs of delivery are not well understood

A large majority of expectant mothers, 71 percent, either underestimate or overestimate the average cost of a normal, uncomplicated vaginal delivery at a hospital. According to Aetna and the Health Insurance Association of America, the average cost for this type of delivery is approximately $6,300.

Few families build a family budget

Since moms-to-be have a lot to think about, researching their family's health benefits may not be top of mind. Only about 50 percent of expectant mothers who already have children and expectant mothers over age 30 are likely to develop a new family budget.

Of those moms who do prepare a new budget, nearly all include expenses such as baby formula and diapers, but more than one-third overlook the cost of health benefits, non-covered medical expenses, and other less obvious costs.

The point is that even if expectant parents have health benefits, it is important to take a close look at what the plan covers, and budget for the out-of-pocket expenses. For example, nearly all expectant mothers know whether their health plan covers traditional services, but many are uncertain about whether plans include genetic counseling and other new, cutting-edge services.

Planning is critical for financial and family health

One of the best ways new parents can protect their financial future is to plan for their family's health. Pregnancy is the perfect time to take a fresh look at health benefits, health expenses, and the overall household budget to make sure everything stays family-friendly.

Reviewing health and financial benefits is particularly important for new moms. Nearly two-thirds of women are responsible for family health care decisions, and when benefits are clearly understood, health care and health planning decisions are smarter and better informed.

Benefits needs may change as a family grows. Having a baby—even it is the second or third child—is the perfect time to take a fresh look at benefits and overall budget.

To see how a newborn can affect costs, try using the Baby Expense Calculator.

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