Delivering a baby is probably
the most routine medical procedure on the planet. So then why is it so freaking
We’re not just talking about
parents without insurance. Even people with health insurance are getting gouged
in a major way.
According to a recent study
by Truven, out-of-pocket costs for having a baby rose fourfold from 2004 to
with insurance cough up about $3,400 to have a baby. Two decades earlier, they
would have paid nothing, or a pittance for a private room with TV.
insurers are shouldering a heftier load as well. Over that same time period,
costs for a vaginal birth and newborn care rose 49 percent to $30,000, while
cesareans rose 41 percent to $50,000.
It gets worse: Perhaps as a result of these rising expenses, more and more health insurance companies are refusing
to cover childbirth. In 2011, 62 percent of women covered by private health
plans not obtained through an employer did not have maternity coverage. And those who did have coverage were nonetheless facing higher co-payments and deductibles.
The reason for these
skyrocketing costs? It’s not because moms are enjoying cutting-edge medical
procedures or sophisticated new technologies. In fact, the treatment we get in
the U.S. is about the same as it is in other developed countries. “It’s not primarily that
we get a different bundle of services when we have a baby,” Gerard Anderson, an
economist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, told the New York Times. “It’s that we pay
individually for each service and pay more for the services we receive.”
In other words, the
complicated state of our health care system is the culprit. The take-home
lesson? Whether you have health insurance or not, no one is safe. If you want a
kid, start saving accordingly.