This Baby Ain’t Coming Cheap: Let’s Talk Labor & Delivery Costs

Tuesday September 6, 2016

Yesterday, a group of us got to talking about labor and delivery costs, as you do. I’ve been living in a bubble because I had no idea. I’m guessing many many women out there also don’t realize how much childbirth can cost, until they’re already pregnant. At that point, they’re kinda already stuck.

So, let’s talk about labor and delivery costs today.

We were covered by a Large HMO Insurance Company in California, and Bean’s birth was fully covered; we paid close to $0. A friend with the same insurance had a daughter that needed to be in the NICU for 3 months, a stay that eventually cost over $1 million. But, when the bill arrived at their home, a lovely $0 was at the bottom: they were fully covered.

This was what I thought standard solid health insurance meant. But yesterday, a friend shared a story of someone that required an emergency c-section, and then was billed for every medication stemming from it, so that eventually, she was on the hook for $10,000. This is a person with good insurance. Is your head spinning?

Here is a list of average childbirth charges by state and by degree of childbirth complication. A separate 2010 study that takes insurance into account shows “in California, maternal payments were $15,259 for vaginal births and $21,307 for cesarean births.”

These figures are staggering. I also wonder if it factors into women’s birth plans to some degree. How many woman have $21,000 laying around in case they need a cesarean?

If you’ve given birth, were you surprised with a huge hospital bill a few weeks later? Did you know how expensive it could be going in, or did it come as a shock? Would you do anything differently if you plan to have another kid?




More reading:

Must-Read Websites for the Newly Pregnant

The Post Partum Pajama Conundrum

What Actually Surprised Me About Breastfeeding

4 Responses to “This Baby Ain’t Coming Cheap: Let’s Talk Labor & Delivery Costs”

  1. I knew I could be responsible for a portion of the bill, but had no idea how much. I ended up paying about $3,500 — if it had been $10,000 or $20,000 I would have totally freaked out.

    Knowing I could face that much wouldn’t prevent me from having the first one, but it would probably tip the scales in favor of not having a second. Which sucks.


    9/7/2016 at 5:04 am

  2. Agreed. And those were straightforward births for the most part!


    9/7/2016 at 7:19 pm

  3. Didn’t know what the official price tag was but I’m not surprised. Healthcare is not cheap…


    9/7/2016 at 5:23 pm

  4. When I first started working in ye olden days, I always noticed that childbirth/delivery was 100% covered by the different plan options. I guess that’s no longer the case!


    9/7/2016 at 7:20 pm