Giving birth costs $3,000 for the insured

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Insured families in the United States are still paying nearly $3,000 of out-of-pocket expenses for childbirth, a recent study revealed.

The study, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that insured women who give birth spend approximately $19,000 more in healthcare costs for having the child than insured women who did not give birth. The study found that $16,000 of the $19,000 is covered by the insurance, while an average of $2,854 comes out of pocket.

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“The $3,000 is shocking, but it’s just the first expense, possibly even one of the lower expenses someone can incur from giving birth in the United States,” Cynthia Cox, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation and co-author of the study, told United Press International. “Compared to other countries, they aren’t as likely to have this kind of out-of-pocket expense for the birth, but also longer parental leave and better access to childcare services.”

The study examined private insurance information from the IBM MarketScan Encounters Database from 2018 through 2020 and compared the costs of someone who gave birth with those who did not. The study found that women who give birth via C-sections face an average of $26,280 in added healthcare costs, while those who have a child without a C-section face an average of $15,000 in added healthcare costs compared to those who did not go through childbirth. Pregnancy is additionally one of the most common reasons for hospitalizations for those of childbearing ages, according to the study.

Despite the costs, there are ways families can prepare for the price of childbirth and subsequent costs, Cox said. Families preparing for a child will often check around other hospitals to determine what hospitals have the best programs and are covered under their insurance. Still, despite preparations, healthcare costs are the most common cause of bankruptcy, Dr. Jessica Peterson, a maternal-fetal medicine fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told UPI.

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The foundation also disclosed that roughly 4 in 10 births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid, approximately 1.5 million births. However, in some states, coverage ends 60 days after delivery.

The study results came one month after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which gave the nationwide right to abortion access, and returned the issue of abortion to the states.