Editor's note: This article was originally published on Anita Fowler's blog, Live Like You Are Rich. It has been republished here with permission.

There are some awesome ways to save money on medical bills during pregnancy, labor, and post partum. Some I found after searching for hours online and talking to insurance representatives for my first pregnancy. And a few I didn't find until my second pregnancy and really wished I had known about them for my first!

1. If you are planning to conceive, choosing the lowest out-of-pocket maximum plan or the lowest pregnancy deductible option can potentially save you thousands.

My husband and I were going to try to conceive so I choose to pay for a higher premium with an $1,500 out-of-pocket maximum. Although I was paying an extra $100 a month, I saved over $2,000 because the next option up was a $5,000 out-of-pocket maximum.

2. Adding to the first point " If your family is otherwise healthy and you can, split up onto two different plans. By choosing a less expensive plan for them (a higher deductible) and by choosing a more expensive plan for yourself (lower deductible) you will also save significantly.

Now I'm not entirely sure if this is possible on private work plans, but in the Marketplace I am on my own plan and my husband and children on another. We do have to do this because they are Native American and I'm not. But even if we didn't have to split up, I would still want to because I always need the health care because of pregnancies and other issues and they rarely use it.

3. If you are 'Fertile Myrtle' and can easily get pregnant any time, why not try conceiving in October, November, December, January, February, or March? This way almost all of your expenses are accrued in one insurance year. Most of the prenatal and postnatal bills will go towards one deductible and maximum out-of-pocket limit, which will also save you big time.

Both of our children were born towards the end of the year. We only had to pay one deductible/max out-of-pocket for each child which was really cost efficient!

4. If you plan to breastfeed, call your insurance and ask them if they include a double electric breast pump for free. With the recent changes in medical laws, many insurance providers are mandated to give free double electric breast pumps and lactation consulting.

I called my insurance and they supply a free pump. I just need an order from my doctor. The rules for my particular insurance is that you have to get the order within 12 months of giving birth. Once I have the doctor's order, I can drive about 15 minutes and pick mine up. That's at least a $130 savings.

5. Call the hospital and ask them if they offer any discounts for pre-paying or paying before you check out of the hospital.

When pregnant, I called the hospital billing department to see if they offered any discounts. They said if I paid for our baby in full before leaving the hospital, we would receive a 25 percent discount. Just asking and paying before we left (which was only a few weeks before we had to pay anyway), saved us $275.00.

6. Leave the hospital when you can.

If you haven't met your out-of-pocket maximum, are doing well, and have your practitioners approval, don't stay longer than needed. Hospitals will charge anywhere from $800-$1,500 a day.

7. Do your due diligence before seeing a new doctor or hospital to make sure it is in-network with your insurance.

Despite confirming with an ultrasound office that they were in-network, I was billed $1,200 because my insurance said they were out-of-network. I sent in a dispute, called the hospital, and called my doctor who referred me. The dispute from the insurer came back denied because according to my insurance, the doctor's office that referred me and the ultrasound office that confirmed they were in-network were at fault. I'm in the process of working with the two offices now. I've come to find out this happened to six other women as well. So far they have reduced our bills 49 percent and are working on reducing them more. Make sure you are in-network by confirming with all parties.

8. Always take responsibility for your own care, read over your benefits, and check multiple sources for major procedures.

Being on the marketplace has taken the insuree's responsibility up a notch. I now call my insurance and the doctor and triple check rates, responsibility, coverage, etc. before setting up appointments. Before I began doing this there were just too many misunderstandings that have cost me a lot.

9. Claim your medical expenses

If you incur significant medical expenses and you are eligible to itemize deductions, you can deduct a portion of them from your income tax. Tally up all premiums, bills, pharmacy charges, etc., and give it to your accountant or input the number into a software like Turbo Tax to get a deduction if applicable.

10. If possible, get the first checkups and needed medical work done for your baby during the first 30 days.

Most insurance policies place a newborn on the parent(s) plan for 30 days after birth. If you have already met the deductible for your baby and he/she needs something besides a wellness check-up (i.e. circumcision, cleft lip, etc.) and you can do it within that 30 day time frame, you will save money.

11. Check around to see if labor and recovery will cost less elsewhere

Not all hospitals charge the same. While this shouldn't be the main determining factor of where you receive your care, it may help to know what each hospital charges in advance, especially if you are paying a percentage of the bill.

For your convenience, here is a list of many of the aforementioned questions to ask the hospital and a few others:

  • How much does labor and delivery cost (VBAC and Cesarean), and does it include anesthesia?

  • How much is newborn care, and is there a newborn daily charge? Does it include baby items such as a nasal aspirator, diapers, etc.? If you are having a boy and are planning on a circumcision, is it included in the price?

  • Are the following items additional or included in the quoted price: watching TV, toiletry items, Tylenol or ibuprofen, suppositories, use of breast pump (if needed). If they do charge extra, it may save you to bring your own. Even if they are included, I find they don't supply enough, so I take many of my own healing items.

  • Do you get a discount for being in a semi-private vs. private room?

  • Discount for leaving early?

  • Discount for paying in advance or before you leave the hospital or all at once?

  • Are the doctors who may see me while in labor all considered in-network?

  • Is the anesthesiologist who may see me also considered in-network?

Other ways to save on medical bills would be seeing if you qualify for medicaid, home birthing (if you are low-risk and have professional help), and perhaps having the baby at a birthing center (although I checked and having my baby at the hospital was less expensive for me). Have you found any other ways to save on pregnancy-related medical bills?

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