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Paying for a Doula? What Options are Available?

Doula care is gaining popularity and for good reason


Evidence Based Birth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and even royal families are saying, “Yes! hire the doula”

Doula costs vary greatly from region to region. In our area, the cost of doula support ranges anywhere from $750-$2,500. These costs vary with the level of experience, training and certifications. For most families, this takes a bit of financial planning. 

Here are a few options to consider when planning.

Insurance Coverage?

Probably not. But try anyway.

Virginia is among 21 states, as well as Washington, D.C., proposing Medicaid coverage for doula support. The state of Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee recently voted unanimously to add this coverage and hopefully it will go into effect very soon. Medicaid is looking to doula care as a promising approach to dealing with disparities in maternal health outcomes and infant mortality, especially in Black, Native American and Pacific Islander women. 

It is logical to think that once doula care is covered by Medicaid, private insurance companies will soon follow. But as of this writing, insurance coverage is fairly uncommon, especially in Virginia. However, it is certainly worth looking into.

It doesn’t hurt to ask, so a call to your health insurance provider is recommended.

HSA and FSA?

Yes!

You might be surprised to hear that your Health Savings Account or your Flexible Spending Account will cover 100% of a doula’s fees. 

Things you will need to submit along with your HSA or FSA claim:

  • A “letter of necessity” from your obstetrician or midwife, dated prior to receiving doula services
  • An itemized invoice “Superbill” from your doula 

Adding Doula Support to your baby registry

Just how many onesies or cute little socks does a newborn really need, especially during a pandemic?

Instead, ask your loved ones for a gift that will have a lasting impact on you and your partner, as well as your baby. In this time of social distancing, when it may not be advisable for your family and friends to be physically present to support you, gifting doula support is a great option. Many doulas do offer gift certificates.

The really neat thing is that you can add these gift certificates to the online registry Baby List. You will just need to talk with your doula to get the needed link to add to your registry.

Setting up a payment plan

Frequently you’ll find doulas require a retainer fee upon signing a contract. The retainer fee “holds your place” on their calendar, and the remainder of the fee is due by 36 weeks. This ensures that all the financial obligations are met before your doula goes “on call” for you at 38 weeks. If there are extenuating circumstances, your doula will most likely be happy to set up a payment plan that works for you. Just ask!

Work with a ‘student doula’ working towards certification

Many doula certification organizations, including DONA International, require prospective doulas to provide birth doula labor support to several clients and provide thorough documentation and evaluations of services by health care providers and the birthing parent. Many student doulas offer greatly reduced rates, and many doula agencies have student doulas on their team, offering the student mentoring opportunities.

If helping out a student doula earn their certification appeals to you, and you’re willing to fill out the evaluation forms, this might be a great option for you and definitely worth considering.

Ready to add doula support to your birth plan or have more questions?

Reach out to us at A Mother’s Perspective Doula Services. We’re happy to answer your questions and provide you with more details about making doula care fit into your budget. 

For more information, and to get your FREE Checklist: Questions to Ask When Hiring a Doula, email jennifer@mothersperspective.com or visit our website, mothersperspective.com.

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