The Cost of Adoption: Paying Birthmother Expenses

truth about the adoption industry profits

How Many Adoption Agencies Are Defrauding us ALL Taxpayers & Expectant Adoptive Parents

truth about the adoption industry profitsWhen I relinquished Max  to adoption in 1987 I was a New York State resident, but I was moved to the Boston, MA area where my agency was to complete the pregnancy.

Now, the idea of going on social services to KEEP my child was just not an option as nice middle class girls form the Long Island suburbs do not willingly become the horrible “welfare moms” of lore. However, when the “nice” adoption agency that you trust puts the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Medicaid information in front of you and helps you fill it out and fast racks your application to pay your hospital bills, you don’t think twice. After all, they are the professionals right?

Calculating Birthmother Expenses in Adoption

From my best estimates, Max adoptive parents paid somewhere around 30K in “fees” to complete his adoption. I am pretty darn positive that they THINK they paid for my medical bills; the OB-gyn, the hospital stay, the EKG I needed, etc.  And they didn’t. The taxpayers of Massachusetts paid for me, a New York girl, to give birth in Mass. The difference of the monies stayed with the “nice” adoption agency.

Now just for fun, I went and check out my “nice” non -profit adoption agency’s 1099’s. Granted these are the ones from 2012, not 1987, but it gives one an idea of how they operate.  If you’d like some quick notes on how to read into the “Non-Profit ” adoption agency myth, please check this out.

Anyway, my adoption agency claims $1,688,092.00 in revenue and says that 31.640% comes from PUBLIC SUPPORT. They pay about 300K in salaries, but over 200K of that goes to the director and associate director who both make over 6 figures, so the office manager and social worker’s each make under 50K annually. Now here’s the interesting part; $441,078 goes to “birthmother expense” . Which leaves over $1,247,000 ready to go directly in the agency coffers adding to their nice hefty $2,699,707 in total assets.

Take a minute and let those figures roll around in your brain for a minute. I know it’s more money than I can even imagine. And it’s all been made from separating nice middle class girls like myself from our babies. But here’s the thing, they are not an exception and they are not considered the “bad guys” in terms of other adoption agencies.  They are reputable, on the up and up and what they do is considered acceptable adoption practices.

It’s Acceptable in Adoption to Use Tax Payer Money

Adoption is not just a “choice” that affects the immediate parties in adoption.  When a couple decides to adopt it can cost EVERYONE money on the form of taxes.

Your taxes  fund adoption through:

Yes, Adoption Agencies Routinely Defraud Medicaid

As I said, what my agency did back in 1987 is not an exception but an acceptable practice that is not just unknown by the general public, but is a fact not shared with most adoptive parents. When I talk about the costs of adoption, most folks will defend the need to pay for birthmother expenses, but will also say that it is very expensive. The reality is that frequently, you are just lining the adoption agencies pockets. I’m not making it up!

Adoption Costs America between 100 Million and 200 Million Annually!

per Another Form of Medicaid Fraud by Loyd Welbern Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ATTORNEYS WHO HANDLE PRIVATE ADOPTIONS ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HOSPITALS, PARENTS, AND THE MEDICAID PROGRAM-AND HERE IS HOW THEY ARE DOING IT.

As a business office director for the past 36 years at St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, Fort Smith, Ark., I have dealt with attorneys handling private adoptions my entire career.

In the past, the hospital business office manager would contact the attorney who was handling the private adoption and make arrangements with him or her to pay the mother’s and baby’s hospital charges through the attorney’s escrow account. The business office manager would send itemized bills for the mother and baby to the attorney’s office, and the attorney would send a check to the hospital to cover the mother’s and baby’s charges.

The way it happens now-and has for the past six or eight years-is the attorney is contacted by the business office manager to make arrangements for payment, and the attorney tells the hospital to file Medicaid for the mother’s and baby’s charges. If the mother is not currently on Medicaid, the attorney expects the hospital to help her enroll in Medicaid.

In the meantime, the attorney has collected a large sum of money from the adopting parents. In the past, the attorneys would pay the hospital for the mothers’ and baby’s charges out of this sum of money. Now, they pocket it all and have Medicaid pay the hospital out of Medicaid funds.

A COSTLY SCHEME

Because the hospital has no legal recourse in these private adoption against anyone but the child’s natural mother, the hospital is forced to take the Medicaid payment, which, on average, is around 20 percent of actual charges.

I believe this practice, when looked at from a national perspective, is costing the Medicaid program $100 million to $200 million annually. I came up with this estimate by multiplying what I knew St. Edward has lost per year from these private adoptions and multiplied that by the number of U.S. hospitals with obstetrics services.

Adopting parents are generally blind to this arrangement. I think that most adopting parents are led to believe from their attorneys that part of the large sum of money they are paying is going to pay the medical bills of the natural mother and baby.

HOW IS THIS OK?

I don’t think it’s OK,  but again, It’s ACCEPTED as OK Practices in Adoption! It’s even some kind of benefit and insurance companies have a business out of it?

This is from a company in Ohio called Human Arc that “helps hospitals and health plans improve revenue and deliver significant community benefit”

Human Arc’s Medicaid for Adoption Services (MAS) provides adoption agencies and adoption law firms with very important, proven services to secure medical benefits to cover birth mothers’ prenatal, labor and delivery expenses as well as the birth of their babies.

Medicaid eligibility verification to confirm whether your clients have active Medicaid and provide you withtheir Medicaid ID numbers. Commercial eligibility verification to determine whether your clients have active commercial insurance and provide you with summaries of their benefit packets.

Babies’ Medicaid eligibility enrollment secured by applying under the cases of birth mothers who are actively receiving Medicaid at the time of their babies’ births (or under the adoption agencies and/or attorneys who obtain legal custody of the babies).

Mothers’ Medicaid enrollment to provide Medicaid coverage for birth mothers for their medical expenses for prenatal care, labor and delivery.

Mothers’ and babies’ Medicaid enrollment to provide Medicaid eligibility and enrollment for adoptions for which applications are needed after the birth of the babies.

Billing coordination services to explore payment options with medical providers, such as out‐of‐state Medicaid billing, financial assistance eligibility, write‐off of balances, and/or patient discounts.

Our technology, process expertise and human experience in navigating Medicaid systems across the nation has allowed us to achieve approvals for 98% of the adoption cases which we’ve worked. All we need is a signed Human Arc Authorization to Represent form and we do all the rest.  We secure the application, submit to the county office in which the client resides, obtain the verifications needed for the application process, and follow up with the state or county office until the case is approved. Once we have the approval, we provide insurance information to your office.

See, I’m not making this up.

More Instances of Double Billing In Adoption Costs

Even back as far as 2003, there have been investigations on this very issues. Adoption agencies probed over suspected double-billing in Cases in Hawaii  and Oklahoma involve Marshallese birth mothers:

The Hawaii attorney general’s office has launched an investigation to determine whether adoptive parents and Medicaid were double-billed for the hospital costs of women flown to the state from the Marshall Islands to give birth and then relinquish their newborn children.

Birthmothers SHOULD be on Medicaid!

Now I have a huge issue with “birthmother expenses” overall and the fact that adoption is often promoted and chosen because medical is paid for. In general,  having one’s medical bills paid for by the agency of the adoptive parents DOES behoove a mother to place her child even if she chooses not to after she gives birth.

She might feel she wants to parent he child, but knows if she changes her mind that she will be responsible for the bill. If you haven’t any money and you know keeping your baby means you have to fork out or somehow pay back thousands of dollars, you might go through with the relinquishment anyway! That’s not a true choice folks! That’s not a birthmother choosing adoption because she wants to. It’s a mother backed up against the wall and doing what she feels she must because she has no choice! She’s selling off her baby to keep her out of debt. Not cool.

So, IMO, all moms SHOULD be on public assistance if they don’t have their own insurance to pay for the birth expenses. I know the majority of state run programs also super fast track a woman if she is pregnant, so  mothers do need an adoption agency to hold their hand through it. They just have to fill out the information and perhaps go to the clinics for care.

Then, IF the child is adopted, THEN the adoptive parents can be billed for the expenses occurred and the agency can pay back Medicaid, but I the baby is parented, then mom owes no one anything.
She doesn’t owe money and she doesn’t own anyone her baby.

And the rest of the public doesn’t have to pay for an adoption agency to put money in their pockets!

 Adoptive Parents: Ask Your Adoption Agency About Birthparent Medical Billing

Yes, please. Double check. Ask them detailed questions and demand ethical answers. Remember, that YOU, the adoptive parents and the prospective adoptive parents are the ones with power. They need your money, so demand that they are doing it right! Demand ethical adoptions!

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

2 Comments on "The Cost of Adoption: Paying Birthmother Expenses"

  1. im looking to adopt a baby but the adoption agency prices are very high is there any agency that will help?

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