How much the hospital and OB charged to deliver our baby

Insurance, Parenting, Personal finance

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It’s been about a month since our baby boy was born, and the bills and insurance statements from our delivery have started to roll in. We’re currently on a Cigna PPO plan, so we (thank goodness) only pay a small fraction of the costs below, but it’s been eye-opening to see how much the hospital and doctors charged for our 60-hour (2 1/2 day) stay.

What I’ve always wondered is, are people who don’t have insurance charged the full amounts below since they aren’t eligible for the “reasonable and customary charges” discount? If so, that seems scandalous. Just look at how much the hospital stay cost. I still can’t imagine how that charge is even justifiable.

Item Original charge “Reasonable and customary charges” discount Final charge
OB charge for a “regular” delivery $3,500 $723 (21%) $2,777
Semi-private ward (2 1/2 days) $19,067 $8,300 (44%) $10,767
Drugs $611 $266 (44%) $345
Supplies $147 $64 (38%) $83
Laboratory $343 $149 (43%) $194
Laboratory $90 $39 (43%) $51
Pediatrician checkup #1 at hospital $272 $156 (53%) $116
Pediatrician checkup #2 at hospital $345 $272 (79%) $73
Pediatrician checkup #3 at hospital $145 $84 (38%) $61
Totals $24,520 $10,053 (41%) $14,467

For those who are expecting and reading this post in order to gauge delivery costs, I had a “regular” (non-C-section) delivery, and I assume the “drugs” line item listed are mostly comprised of the pitocin I had to receive to induce labor (I had no contractions but my water had broken) and the fentanyl that I received to cope with the pain. Things progressed so quickly that I didn’t have time for an epidural, so I’m not sure how much a typical delivery with epidural would cost.

The pediatricians’ visits at the hospital were all routine, first at the birth, then twice more the following day and on the morning before our discharge from the hospital.

In the end, we’ll be paying a total of $1156 or so out-of-pocket for the charges above on the PPO plan that we have. Of course, this covers only the labor and delivery charges for the days at the hospital. We also had co-pays and fulfilled other deductibles for prenatal exams, ultrasounds, and other routine care before delivery.

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12 Feedbacks on "How much the hospital and OB charged to deliver our baby"

» How much the hospital and OB charged to deliver our baby

[…] YourFunds.org wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt It’s been about a month since our baby boy was born, and the bills and insurance statements from our delivery have started to roll in. We’re currently on a Cigna PPO plan, so we (thank goodness) only pay a small fraction of the costs below, but it’s been eye-opening to see how much the hospital and doctors charged for our 60-hour (2 1/2 day) stay. What I’ve always wondered is, are people who don’t have insurance charged the full amounts below since they aren’t eligible for the “reasonable and […]



Varangy

If so, that seems scandalous. Just look at how much the hospital stay cost. I still can’t imagine how that charge is even justifiable.

What should a hospital stay cost? You are paying for the convenience and safety of a modern birth. You are paying for all that stuff you didn’t have to use, but was waiting for you, should something have gone wrong.

Akin to paying for airbags, but never actually having them deploy.

Given the option of:

1) Modern birth, modern price.

2) Free or very low-cost birth, 30 years ago.

Which one would you take?



Charlie

I gave birth two and a half weeks ago to a healthy baby boy, with no insurance. No medicaid, no thing. Yes I got charged more than insured patients, by my doctor, his clinic, and the hospital. In fact, the clinic told me when I showed up for my first OB appointment that without a $1000 deposit, I couldn’t see the doctor. After that, it was $375 every month, so that the OB fees would be paid before delivery. In effect, and I didn’t know this was even legal, they wanted me to pay for services months before receiving them, namely the delivery. Well I still owe some to the clinic and doctor, and I’ll be paying off my pitocin and IV for the next five years, and hopefully next time I have a baby I’ll have insurance too.



Eric

I agree with Varangy. Just how much should a visit like this cost? You’re paying for an OB/GYN who, aside from college, spent four years in medical school and four years in residency. He or she pays thousands of dollars every year to maintain licensure and CME requirements, not to mention thousands of dollars every month for malpractice insurance in case YOU decide to sue.

And that’s just the OB/GYN. Every other doctor who sees you (or has to be available in case something goes wrong) has similar training and expenses. Don’t forget the nurses, techs, and other assistants who need training and salaries. And you can sue many of them, so they all need insurance, too. And then there’s the hugely expensive hospital facilities and modern equipment and all the people needed to run them, from custodians to hospital administrators.

So again, how much should it cost?



ricemutt

Interesting the strong reactions the post is getting. I guess I’m just surprised that the stay was the most expensive at $19K. It must cover over things. The OB herself separately charged $3500 for the delivery.

It must be mainly the malpractice insurance. My cousin is an OB and he was paying $130K in coverages a few years back when he was in NYC.



Mike Sweeney

It’s interesting how they inflate the prices to collect as much as possible from insurance companies.



Best CD Rates

We had a baby in 2003, though insurance paid for most of the costs except $400 because we wanted a private room. The total bill was over $30,000! This is in a NYC hospital.



Micky

Both my kids births (two years apart) cost me a grand total of $0.00. The second was in a private room for two days.

Of course, I do live in Canada, one of the many first world countries that has nationalized health-care.



Paul in Hong Kong

great post!



Julie

The price seems high to me also. My youngest was born in 1997 at a cost of about $3,000 (in a freestanding birth center, next door to a hospital). We had (still do have) insurance but we paid a monthly installment on the difference between the final bill and the covered amount so paying ahead, apparently, is not unheard of.

There seems to be a “list” price on medical services that PPOs then negotiate down, which then proves their value to the insured. Next there is actual insurance, which provides coverage of the remaining amount. I have a high-deductible policy now so that I rarely get real insurance coverage but I do receive the pre-negotiated price breaks.

I am visiting by way of Blogher and the recent post on the financial crisis, which was very well done – thank you.



Stephanie

My nephew and his wife had a baby in Baltimore County, 2008, it was a C-section, they had private insurance that paid for 80% of the mother and baby care. The baby roomed in, but went to the regular nursery 3 times for a bath which consisted of 30-40 minutes each. They were charged $600 per day for NICU services. They have a $400 bill left over from the hospital after the insurance paid, and are arguing that even though the baby roomed in, and never used the NICU, they have the right to charge 1800 in case he might have used it. I don’t believ that is good buisness. If I go into the hospital for a scheduled surgery, I don’t get charged for 3 days in the ICU in case I might go there, do I?



Trisha

I delivered my first child with no US insurance. The total bill was 30,000 dollars (emergency c-section)! They kept ‘giving’ me things like nipple guards. These things later showed up on my itemized bills at 6 times the cost of buying them myself from a pharmacy. The crazy thing is that I never requested them! They acted as if they were ‘presents’ to the new mother!



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