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How much does it REALLY cost to have a baby on Tricare Standard?

One of the questions that is frequently asked among military families is about switching to Tricare Standard.

For those of you who don’t know, Tricare is our health insurance as military families.  When you first sign up, you are in Tricare Prime (and military members themselves MUST be on Prime).  With Prime, you see the medical professionals on base unless they refer you out somewhere else.  And with Prime, you probably won’t pay anything.  My husband has been in the military for five years now and our entire family was on Prime for the majority of that time.  Tricare Standard gives you the ability to go to off medical professionals.  However with Standard you will pay a co-pay.

When we moved to WPAFB and found out that Baby #2 was coming, I initially went to the Women’s Health Clinic on base where they had OBs and midwives and planned to deliver Adelaide at the base hospital.  Somewhere near the end of the second trimester, I decided that I would rather be seen off-base for my prenatal care and deliver the baby at the off-base hospital.  Caleb was on-board with whatever I wanted, but we were both interested (nervous?) to see how much we would end up paying out-of-pocket.

From the time I switched to Standard until the actual delivery, I had a few small bills.  $10, for instance, to run some blood work.  Near the end of my pregnancy when I got the flu I had an ER visit that ended up costing us about $140.  But as far as the actual birth goes, we paid $25.


My Hospital Bill


What I Paid

The $25 covered my entire delivery and recovery time: an induction, an epidural and a 24 hour stay post-delivery.  (I could have stayed for another day, but chose to go home).

If you are considering switching to Standard while pregnant and trying t to keep your out-of-pocket expenses low, here are a few suggestions.

  • While on Standard you can still get your prescriptions filled on base, but since the base pharmacy doesn’t charge a co-pay, you save money each time.  I did this during my pregnancy.  Instead of sending the presciption order to a local drug store, my doctor would print off a copy that I would take on base to be filled.
  • Talk with your doctor about letting you do any blood work or immunizations on base because, again, it’s free if it is on base.
  • Post-delivery the same is true.  If you need medication, birth control or even an IUD take a prescription on base to save money.
Have you had a baby while on Tricare Standard?  I would love to hear what city you were in and how much you paid.
If you delivered on Tricare Prime, how was your experience?


tricare standard

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I’m entering dicey territory today as I write about politics, something I thought I’d never do.  It’s uncomfortable.  No matter what side you’re on, assumptions are made about your character, your motives and your faith.  Writing this has the potential to piss off a lot of people, especially family and friends.  I certainly have people I love who think differently than me on some issues.  But sometimes pissing people off can’t be avoided even while we try to handle difficult conversations delicately.  Today’s post isn’t meant to start a huge debate over who you should vote for.  There are plenty of other articles that will lay out the arguments much better than I can.  It’s also not meant to be a wholehearted embrace of a single political candidate.  Like everyone, I’m choosing who I support from just a handful of options.  There is no single candidate who perfectly represents each of my views.  However, I see this as an important historic moment for our country and I am excited to be a part of it.  

Last week was a historic moment for the United States.  For the first time a woman won the presidential nomination for a major political party.  As millions of Americans stand behind Hillary Rodham Clinton, our dream of having a female president is that much closer to coming true.

As I vote this year, I’m thinking of my infant daughter.  Of the fact that having a female president will be an accepted part of her life.  Of the legacy that she’s inherited as an American woman.  I’m thinking of the suffragists, like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who dreamed of this day and laid the groundwork for it to happen.

This November as I cast my ballot, I’m snapping a picture with my daughter.  It’s a monumental moment in our history and I want to show her that she was there with me.  There are many factors that go into the candidate who we support, but for me, this year, one reason that #ImWithHer (HRC) is for her (my daughter).  Just as my foremothers took bold strides to give me the privilege of voting, I want to pave the way for my daughter and the future generations.

If you’ll also be celebrating this historic moment and voting for our first female president, join me in taking a picture** with your daughter (or your sister, your niece, your wife, your mom, grandmother or a friend) and posting it with the hashtags #ImWithHerForHer and #ContinuingSusansLegacy.

Make the inconvenient choice to take your daughters (and sons!) with you to the polling station so that they can be part of this historic moment.  Or, if you’re an absentee voter like me, take a moment to explain to your children what you’re doing and why it is important.  Let’s flood the polls with women who are celebrating and exercising their right to vote and continuing the legacy left by our suffragette mothers.


**Please note that many states have laws against taking pictures of your ballot, taking pictures inside the voting booth or even taking pictures inside a polling place.  Check out the guidelines for your state here.

#ImWithHerForHer (1)


Vote, 5.0 w credits

Thanks to Gina Glorioso Rendall for coming up with the hashtags and to Lindsey Glorioso Hennis for creating the graphic with Susan B.  (Lindsey runs Clever Bird Designs which can be found on Facebook and on Etsy)

For some voting inspiration, check out these links:

The Mayor of Rochester, NY leaves a thank you note at Susan B.’s grave and encourages people to add their own note to her.

Ruline Steininger (103 years old) can’t wait to vote for the first female president.

Photograph of Lucy Burns after she was arrested for protesting on behalf of women’s voting rights


Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 1.25.58 PM


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the best of the month: May 2016 (3)

My favorite Instagram picture from May

May was our first full month with two children!  Since Adelaide was born we’ve had lots of visitors which has been fun and also quite helpful.  We’re learning to deal with a little more chaos and a heck of a lot less sleep.  Although we’re mostly doing okay, writing is the one area where I feel like I can’t keep up – stringing together enough words to make a sentence (and a legible one at that) seems like a monumental task at this point, but I’m attempting it nonetheless.

All month I’ve been amazed at how many great articles I’ve found.  I kept thinking, “Wow!  May has been a great month for writing!”  But I think the truth is that most months have these great articles, I’ve simply been able to read more of them in May.  Since I’m spending so much time nursing Adelaide each day, I’m listening to more podcasts and reading more articles.

(As always, I’d like to note that these are articles that kept me thinking this month.  It is not necessarily an endorsement.)

KJ Dell’antonia | Seven Ways Parents Can Help 13-Year-Olds Start Their Social Media Lives Right

Among the most positive results of the research was the importance of parental involvement for this age group. “Children who felt like their parents were monitoring their activity online were noticeably less distressed by online conflict,” Dr. Underwood said. “Children perceive that their parents care about their online lives, and they’re probably talking about them.”

Chris McGonigal | These Emotional Photos Show The Real Reason For Memorial Day
Michelle Acker Perez | The Day I Dread Each Month

I am well aware of the gift it is to be a mom. I am grateful for the daughter I have, and I long to have another baby. It feels hard holding gratitude and longing side-by-side. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but sometimes it feels like they are. I have one adorable, delightful baby, but that doesn’t negate the longing for another one.

Andrienne Lafrance | The U.S. Military Is Failing to Support Its Sickest Kids

Given the need for outpatient behavioral-health resources among military children and the spate of serious quality problems at military hospitals in recent years, it’s perhaps not surprising that a dearth of pediatric social workers in the hospital setting hasn’t been a focal point. Two years ago, a mandated review of the military health-care system found a pattern of disastrous errors and inconsistencies at several major military hospitals. A New York Times investigation published in 2014 found the military system had “consistently higher than expected rates of harm and complications” in surgery and maternity care. In a separate analysis, the American College of Surgeons found higher than expected rates of complications at half of the networks’s largest military hospitals. Another Pentagon study found babies born at military hospitals were twice as likely to be injured during delivery compared with newborns nationwide.

Dr. Amy Tuteur | Closing Newborn Nurseries Isn’t Good for Babies or Moms

Lactivists envision that everyone is like them: privileged to have a partner who will participate in in-hospital baby care, who can take time off from work to be there, and who has money to pay a babysitter to stay home with any older children. But that’s not the case for most women; they are solely responsible for the care of their newborn even if they are exhausted by a long labor, in pain from surgery or vaginal tears and sedated by pain-relieving narcotics. Closing nurseries doesn’t merely deprive these less privileged women of time to recover; it literally puts their babies at risk for death.

Podcast: Mariya Karimjee | This American Life Episode 586: Who Do We Think We Are?   Act One: Whose Great Idea Was This?

When Mariya Karimjee was little, members of her family made a decision that would affect her entire life. Years later, she wants to know why.  (32 minutes)

My own writing: Mother’s Day Blues at The Redbud Post

As I’ve studied the portrayals of God as a woman, I’ve gained a fuller picture of what it means for me to be a mother. These images are wholly unlike anything I’ve heard in a Mother’s Day sermon or at a ladies brunch. In Isaiah 42:14 we’re given the picture of God in childbirth—laboring, panting, anguished. In Luke 13:34 we see God as a hen, clucking away at her chicks and longing to shelter them under her wings. God becomes a breastfeeding mother in Isaiah 49:15, swollen and leaking. These pictures show the sides of mothering that are messy, undignified, and even undone. Suddenly the picture of a Christian mother is broadened. It is humanized. And as our eyes are opened to these stunning images of God, we can begin to accept a view of motherhood that moves away from the platitudes of the greeting card aisle and into the fullness of what parenting really means.

What was the best thing you read (or wrote!) this month?


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