Baby Delivery Cost
The total cost of baby delivery typically consists of: the services of the obstetrician/gynecologist and pediatrician; services of the anesthesiologist and epidural, if used; the cost of your stay in the hospital room and board; a nursery fee; laboratory fees; and any medications or medical supplies. If you are insured, your insurance provider probably will receive the itemized bill, but you might receive separate non-itemized statements from the hospital and the different doctors.
- The biggest factors affecting the cost of a birth are: whether it is vaginal or Cesarean; whether there are complications; and the length of the hospital stay. Geographical location also plays a part; baby delivery is most expensive in the Northeast and on the West coast and least expensive in the south. For patients not covered by health insurance, the typical cost of a vaginal delivery without complications ranges from about $9,000 to $17,000 or more, depending on geographic location and whether there is a discount for uninsured patients. The typical cost for a C-section without complications or a vaginal delivery with complications ranges from about $14,000 to $25,000 or more.
- For patients with insurance, out-of-pocket costs usually range from under $500 to $3,000 or more, depending on the plan. Out-of-pocket expenses typically include copays — usually $15 to $30 for a doctor visit and about $200 to $500 for inpatient services for delivery. Some insurance plans only cover a percentage — usually about 80 to 90 percent after a deductible is met, so you can easily end up reaching your yearly out-of-pocket maximum. In most plans, that ranges from about $1,500 to $3,000. According to a study by the March of Dimes Foundation [1 ]. the average out-of-pocket cost for a vaginal delivery for privately insured patients was $463 and for a C-section, $523 .
- Usually, the baby receives a separate bill, which typically ranges from $1,500 to $4,000 for a healthy baby delivered at term. For a premature baby with complications who has to spend weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit, this bill can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
- Baby delivery usually is covered by health insurance. Even if you join a group health insurance plan after you already are pregnant, delivery still will be covered; according to the U.S. Department of Labor [2 ]. the federal government prohibits group health insurance plans from treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition, or, if they offer maternity coverage, from refusing to cover prenatal care or childbirth. However, individual health insurance plans can legally treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition, so baby delivery probably will not be covered if you join one while pregnant. If you are insured, it is very important to check with the insurance company about their requirements; some companies require you to “pre-authorize” coverage for your baby, and some require that you call them when you arrive at the hospital to deliver — if you forget, they might refuse to cover the delivery or your newborn’s care.
Related articles: Prenatal Care. Cord Blood Banking. Lamaze Classes. Doula. Postpartum Maternity Checkup. Well Baby Doctor Visit
What should be included:
- After delivery, the baby will be examined by your doctor or a pediatrician. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [3 ] gives an overview of the immediate medical attention a baby needs right after birth.
- You probably will stay in the hospital one to two days, if you delivered vaginally, or three to four days, if you had a Cesarean delivery.
- Induction of labor, usually with drugs, costs extra. FamilyDoctor.org [4 ] offers an overview of labor induction.
- A private room can cost several hundred dollars extra per day out-of-pocket.
- Usually, the services of a midwife are about one-third less expensive than those of an obstetrician/gynecologist.
- Some doctors or midwives will negotiate a discounted package rate for prenatal care, or prenatal care combined with delivery, for a patient paying out-of-pocket. And some hospitals will give you a discount on their part of the fee — as much as 25 percent — if you pay your bill at one time rather than in payments.
- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [5 ] offers information on free and reduced cost prenatal and delivery services for women who qualify.
Shopping for baby delivery:
- The doctor you choose be board-certified by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [6 ]. Or, if you wish to use a midwife, the American College of Nurse-Midwives [7 ] offers a certified midwife locator.
- If you have chosen a doctor or midwife, you usually will deliver at the hospital where they have admitting privileges; so, check out the hospital well in advance of the birth. BabyCenter.com [8 ] offers a guide to choosing a hospital.
- As an alternative to hospitals, some patients choose a birth center; these usually have a more home-like environment than a hospital, allow multiple visitors, offer amenities such as Jacuzzis and offer transfer to a nearby hospital in case of complications. BabyCenter.com [9 ] has information on birth centers. And the American Association of Birth Centers [10 ] has a locator by state.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. For medical decisions, always consult your physician for the right course for your infant or child.