Battling the high cost of having a baby

By Dean

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Getting pregnant is a fairly easy process for most, but it can be difficult for others. The cost of actually having that baby can be a struggle for those who don't have the right insurance.

That's the battle a Lowcountry couple is currently fighting.

It's a typical night at the Claysons. There is dinner to be cooked, a three-year-old to be fedand final chores to be done. Alex and Holly Clayson seem to have it all, right down to the tail-wagging dog, but there's something missing."We started talking about having another child and that's when you find out individual plans don't cover maternity," said Holly Clayson.{}The cost of having a baby out of pocket left Holly Clayson fit to be tied. {}"We also don't have a ton of money that we can pull out of pockets to pay $15,000," she said.There were cheaper options and they varied as much as the balls their son Noah kicked around the backyard.One option was to up and move to England to have the baby. Holly Clayton's husband Alex holds a dual citizenship."My brother just had a baby; the only cost that he had to preoccupy himself with was does he want a private room or shared room," said Alex Clayson.They also thought about getting a divorce, which would allow Holly to receive Medicaid."These are my options, and why are these options?" asked Holly Clayson.But then along came{} the right fit.

The Claysons started working with Michelle Katz. The Los Angeles-based health care advocate has written two books about helping people lower their insurance costs. "We got a bundle price from $6,900 to $12,000 to $20,000. That was from three different hospitals not that far from each other," said Katz."We negotiated a four-day stay, for $8,000," said Holly Clayson. "At least it's an achievable goal to where I can set aside a certain amount every month that I can get it done.""Knowledge is power. It's understanding how hospitals work, how their price models work. Go up the road and pay this much; go down the road and pay this much, understanding the billing, what's legitimate and what's not," said Alex Clayson.The Claysons net gain also came with loss. "I had to be more flexible. Different doctor and different hospital than I'm used to but I'm going to try it because its worth it," said Holly Clayson.{}"I am ecstatic for them. To me it just means everything I taught them and it was a short period of time, it took me years, picked up this little information and made it work for them. I hope they can take it and become advocates for other people."Negotiating a price and remaining vigilant allowed the Claysons to cross an unstable financial healthcare bridge.Both Holly and Alex are self-employed and don't qualify for group insurance plans which predominately cover maternity costs.

To learn more about Michelle Katz, visit and to start reducing your health care costs visit