How Much Does A Medical Birth Cost?

by Caroline Tung Richmond

When you're expecting, it's completely normal to feel nervous, whether you're thinking about your labor or the inevitable sleepless nights ahead. Here in the United States, expectant moms often have to worry about medical costs, too, especially as healthcare premiums and deductibles increase. If you're trying to plan ahead and calculate your delivery bill, you'll want to know how much a medical birth costs on average at an American hospital.

You might want to sit down before reading these next stats. A 2013 study from Truven Health Analytics found that a vaginal birth cost $32,093 and a C-section cost $51,125, for moms and newborns with employer-provided health insurance. Before you reach for the smelling salts, remember that insurers paid the bulk of these bills (about 87 percent), but that does saddle patients to cover any deductibles and other fees. Keep in mind, too, that medical bills vary depending on where you live — for instance, if you're in New York City, your out-of-pocket costs could creep over $9,000. That's why you may want to research medical procedure prices in your zip code by using FAIR Health's Consumer Cost Lookup tool.

Hospital bills are hefty enough for an unmedicated vaginal birth, but they get even more expensive when you add on inductions, epidurals, and C-sections. Opting for an epidural? That's an extra $2,132, as reported in Money magazine. How about a C-section? That can rack up tens of thousands of dollars, even over $70,000 according to a study by the University of California, San Francisco. As for inductions, the cost will depend on if it's an elective procedure or medically necessary, so you should check your insurance policy for pricing.

Thanks to the complicated American healthcare system, it can be super stressful to figure out how much your delivery will cost, especially if you want an epidural or if you need a C-section. Don't hesitate to contact your insurance company to go over what's covered and what's not. Not only will you get some peace of mind, you'll also be prepared when you open up that hospital bill.