Friends of mine who are soon-to-be parents often ask how much it costs to raise a child, or a baby for the first few months, or how much money to put aside in a Flexible Savings Account for delivery costs. While there are many resources out there to help answer these questions (just take a look at a recent Wall Street Journal blog entry that mentioned the US Dept. of Agriculture estimate of $223K to raise a child born in 2009 to maturity), by far, our biggest expense has been unexpected health bills.
Our current cash outflow right now is $120 weekly from sending our son to speech therapy once a week, because he’s not speaking enough words for his age. This doesn’t include the evaluation itself, which cost $750. I count ourselves lucky because our PPO insurance will cover 80% (with no maximum, assuming I read our limits correctly).
To be honest, I sometimes can’t tell if, by being in the uber-competitive Bay Area, we’re alarming ourselves unnecessarily with my son’s speech situation, but since the speech therapy can’t hurt and we’re being told there’s a chance he has a more serious condition causing his speech delay, we of course want to give our son the best chance he can get early on.
I know of friends whose insurance would either not cover this type of health issue or max out at a particular amount like $4K and cannot imagine how much of a drain something like speech therapy could be on a family’s situation, let alone more serious health conditions. And then I think of all the kids and families out there who can’t afford this sort of help, or early intervention, and really feel terrible.
If you’re a parent, what’s been the most unexpected financial cost or change to your financial life that you’ve had to make so far? I’d be curious to know!