The financial cost of birth - from a foreigner - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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The financial cost of birth - from a foreigner

Hi all,

Just out of interest I was wondering ROUGHLY what the cost of having a baby is in the US? By that I mean ante-natal checks, the birth itself and any ICU treatment afterwards.

It'd be interesting to hear as I am just writing an article about it in the UK, where anyone can have everything provided for free. Private options in the UK are around £4k-£12k (so about $6k-$18k) for ante-natal and birth assuming no complications.

Any comments appreciated is offline  
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#2 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 08:51 AM
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To be a nit-picky econ type, the correct term for care in the U.K. is not "free", it is "paid by the government."

My insurance company negotiates a universal pregnancy care reimbursement rate with local hospitals. The universal reimbursement covers the standard package of ante-natal visits, a standard run of tests (GD testing, blood typing, dating and diagnostic ultrasounds), labor and delivery (including anesthesia if needed or desired), and post-partum visits. I don't know what this rate is (I suspect it's under $10K), I certainly do not have the leverage to negotiate it myself.

I do have some of the Explanation of Benefits statements from my insurance for my daughter's birth though. The full, billed cost of my c-section was something in the range of $40K, before the discounts applying to my particular insurance kicked in. The cost of a day of NICU care varied - her first few days were something like $20K each, once she got to be more of a feeder/grower, the cost fell to something more closely resembling $5K. She was in the NICU for 32 days. In every case, the billed rate was reduced to my health insurance company's negotiated rate, which was drastically lower.

If you find yourself in a position to give birth in a U.S. hospital without insurance, it would greatly help to be able to claim that you qualify for charity care, or to apply for Medicaid (which also has income limits). People really have wound up in bankruptcy over things like this.
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#3 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I should have said "free at the point of service" .

Thanks for the answer too. V helpful! is offline  
#4 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 09:26 AM
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For home birth, it's about $4K. For hospital birth, it's about $6K. And $9K for c-section. But, for the hospital birth, you pay more for pediatrician checking on your child and the hospital has it's own bill for you. That is what I remember... and I don't remember there being much of a difference in price for birthing in a large city or a small town.

I'm curious though... to see what others say.

Super Mom.  Super Wife.  Super Tired.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 01:26 PM
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In my area, home birth is not covered by insurance and mine cost me $1200 and $1800. I think that $2400 is normal now.

I am having my fifth baby in a hospital covered by insurance in December. I cannot wait to find out what the bill will be to insurance, and then what insurance actually pays. My guess is about $20,000 for a normal pregnancy and vaginal birth.

DS1 2004 ~ DS2 2005 ~ DD1 2008 ~ DS3 2010 ~ DD2 born at 31 weeks Oct. 2014
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#6 of 7 Old 08-07-2014, 06:48 PM
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I researched this a lot about 10 years ago, so things have changed. But pregnancy, birth and 6 wk postpartum visit are billed to insurance under a "global package" and then reimbursed by insurance at a lower rate. But it is closer to $4-6,000 I believe. Then the baby is a separate patient, and that bill is probably $1-2000 if uneventful but that I don't know for sure. My home birth midwife was going to bill about $4,000 for me and baby, but she gets reimbursed by insurance so that may have influenced her billing. But DD was born 3 mo. early and her NICU stay of 3 mo was roughly $250,000 I think. In our state all babies that premature qualify for state insurance so while I had to pay co-pays etc on my birth (per my insurance, probably $1,000 out of pocket), her stay was covered 100% without co-pays or deductibles.
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#7 of 7 Old 08-08-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow. I was wondering how much NICU would be (my wife is a NICU doctor in the UK and there are a LOT of staff and machines needed!). Now THAT is a terrifying number! is offline  

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