Re: Question about OB office
OP, I'm a little unclear on what the $1000 is for. Is that towards your "global prenatal" fee that OBs typically charge, or is this the cost they want you to pay ahead of time, in case you end up with another section?
I think it is the norm for OB offices to expect full payment for their global fee upfront. I have not experience this pre-billing for a possible section, but I have heard of it from other moms, so I know it is not completely out of the norm.
I do understand that they typically explain all their billing practices earlier in the pregnancy. Some offices just give you a paper with stuff buried in mice type, and others actually provide some sort of counseling type session. And in either case, it is your responsibility to pay.
What is completely crazy to me is that they require full payment before all services have been received. Now, I comply with their requirements because I feel I have no choice, but it still feels wrong to me. And it's not like I can just take my business elsewhere, because they all do the same thing. What if I end up not delivering with them for some reason? I presume they'd refund me. I just don't understand why I can't pay for the prenatal care separately from the delivery fee, so that I'm actually paying for services rendered, instead of services they assume they'll eventually render. I'm sure it's about improving their collections rates, they are running a business, etc, but I still find it a bit crazy.
I absolutely find it crazy to prepay for your share of a surgery that will very likely never be performed. I mean, if you go to your family care doctor and are found to be at risk for a heart attack, you don't pay them a positive balance of $1000 jik you have a heart attack one day, kwim?
Anyhow, OP, I won't disagree with the fact that it would have probably been better for you to have put effort into trying to work things out with them earlier. But you are where you are, so I think the best thing to do is to go sit down and be honest with them and explain your situation. They may be able to help you out. Often times they sound more tough than they are because they are trying to spur people into action, so to speak. And if not, you'll at least get that out in the open now so that you can begin to pursue your other options.
I don't think OP is looking for rainbows and unicorns. I think she is struggling with the issue of prepayment for services not yet rendered. Asking if this is normal isn't asking to hear "It'll be okay, just don't pay". And she isn't saying she won't pay or that she doesn't think it should be her responsibility, and she has been paying some amount on some of the bills from the office. She's asking if this is normal practice, and if so, how have others handled it.
OP, I think the answer is yes, it is normal, and most people either just simply comply, or they go in and work out some sort of alternate payment arrangement that is acceptable and manageable for both sides. They have to know that you can't pay what you don't have, so they will likely accept some payment plan if you sit down and sort it out with them. GL!
~Amy, Loving wife to E and Happy mama to
K 4/04, L 11/05, E 8/07, V 1/10, J 10/11, and E 5/13