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How Expensive Is It To Give Birth?
It’s commonly known that the cost of healthcare in the US is significantly high and experts say that it’s because consumers do not go around comparing prices at different hospitals, as they would do with any other service or purchase they make such as buying a car.
Childbirth is the number one reason for admission to hospital yet even for uncomplicated births, the prices for the medical procedure differs significantly from hospital to hospital. According to a study by Yale Medical School, the average estimated hospital cost per maternity stay ranged from $1,189 to $11,986.
In the video below, a Dad-to-be tries to find out what exactly what he and his wife would need to fork out to pay for the birth of his baby but had a very hard trying to get any sort of answer!
He made about 30 calls in the space of 2 weeks, to various hospitals, but was transferred from person to person and was told that any pricing information is not kept on hand. He would only be able to see it on his statement after the procedure!
Eventually he was contacted by a Pricing Consultant from the hospital where he’s wife would be giving birth and after running his insurance information through her system, she gave him a number – $347 – that’s what it would cost – she wasn’t able to give a breakdown of that figure – just that number. That number could of course only be verified once his wife was admitted to the hospital.
Sometime after the call, his wife had an uncomplicated labour and gave birth to a beautiful daughter. She had a 2 day stay at the hospital and 4 weeks later the elusive hospital bill arrived.
The actual hospital bill was $16 848, the insurance company negotiated that figure down to $8 348 which meant the insurance covered 90% of the bill. They had to fork out $841 – that’s $500 more than initially quoted by the Pricing consultant.
According to the Yale study mentioned above, the estimated costs at hospitals vary from each hospital to another due to factors such as the proportions of childbirths covered by insurance, the volumes of childbirths, duration of hospital stay, location and whether the hospital is non-federal government or has non-profit ownership.
These Researchers also found that there is a direct association between facilities with higher rates of maternal death and cesarean delivery and higher estimated costs, which runs contrary to the belief that spending maintains the quality of care.
Even though this is the case, there is still no way for an expectant family to know what they will pay beforehand and also how it will compare to the next hospital.