Regarding foreigners having children in America..

A Japanese couple with whom I have the pleasure of being friends with, is moving to the states soon. He has a great job in Colorado, and she is newly pregnant. They were wondering what to expect as far as:

  1. Their insurance (Japanese).
  2. Complications with dealing with a hospital as foreigners.
  3. Approximate (average?) cost of having a child in America.
  4. Citizenship of the child.

I’m going to ask them about their insurance again, because if his company offers the insurance, things would be much smoother.
They’re still in Japan right now, so should I call the US Embassy over here and ask?
Anyway, I’m hoping to help them out, so any facts of these matters would be helpful. Thanks!

I would definitely check with the embassy. I am an american, but I live in Germany, so I have some experience in dealing with such international difficulties. I have always found that I could make a good start at most things by asking the embassy first.

I’ve never had any exerience in numbers 1-3, but as for 4: The USA has a “citizenship of soil policy”. That is, if Ikeda Jr. is born here, he’s as native as Red Cloud Sr, no matter where his parents came from. Depending on Japanese citizenship laws, he miught be able to change it at some point depending on his tastes.

As to their health insurance, if it is a Japanese insurer they should really check if the insurer is set up to handle an American claim, or if they have a US branch or a collaborative agreement with an American health-insurer to receive direct billing from the hospital/doctors: traditionally many US health providers have trouble billing to out-of-state insurers/HMOs, never mind out-of-country. In this case they should be able, once they’re settled in a bit, to shop for providers willing to make arrangements ahead of time: he should check with the personnel/employee benefits department at the company, who probably have expertise in dealing with this and maybe even a list of providers who are willing to work with the foreign insurer. He should be prepared to pay some large bills up-front (specially such things as lab tests, specialist referrals and prescriptions, that happen outside the primary care provider/hospital) then request reimbursement.

As for citizenship, like smiling bandit said, the US is a jus solis jurisdiction so unless they were under diplomatic immunity, Baby will be born American. And since both parents are Japanese citizens, s/he will almost certainly be one as well, by jus sanguinis – meaning no problem carrying on life as a regular Japanese citizen back home if they so choose. Don’t know Japan’s position on “dual citizens”’, the USA does not encourage it or technically “recognize” it, but more like “looks the other way” until and unless an actual problem arises.

Thanks for the help, Mort Furd. I was pretty sure I’d wind-up asking the embassy anyway, but I was willing to take the chance that perhaps someone was familiar with this sort of thing. Hafta wait for tomorrow, though…
JRDelirious, thanks for the insurance tips. I’m going to hafta ask him what the deal is.
Smiling bandit, I was pretty sure this was the case, however, there’s a ‘war on terrorism’ going on, and I don’t know what’s going on with ppl trying to get citizenship and whatnot.

Now, does anybody know how much the hospital bill is going to be? Approximations are fine. They just want to know how much to expect. Thanks!

$10,000 to $25,000. Depending on how well things go.