Average Childbirth Costs & How to Pay With Health Insurance

When you’re pregnant, you may spend a lot of money on baby gear, and some on prenatal care, but your biggest bills will likely arrive shortly after the baby does — for labor, delivery and the medical care you and your newborn get when you give birth.

Here we’ll cover the average cost of childbirth — from both sticker price to allowable amounts under health insurance plans. We’ll also show what types of services are included in the costs and explain how health insurance plans cover deliveries.

Table of Contents

Cost of childbirth

In the U.S., the average cost of a vaginal birth is $13,024, including standard predelivery and postdelivery expenses such as facility fees and doctor fees.

A cesarean section (C-section) is much more expensive, costing an average of $22,646 including standard predelivery and postdelivery expenses.

This cost to deliver a baby, totaling more than $10,000, is based on what the hospital charges. If you have health insurance, how much you’d pay for childbirth will be determined by the plan’s benefits. This includes the insurance plan’s deductible and copayments, which can affect how much you’d pay for the doctor’s services and the hospital room, for example.

Note that these average childbirth costs assume there are no complications. But even with a typical birth, the amount a hospital charges can vary widely between facilities and locations. What the hospital charges for a vaginal delivery can fluctuate by more than $30,000 between states, and the cost of a C-section fluctuates by more than $50,000.

The cost of childbirth also changes if you’re considering alternative delivery methods. Some pregnant women are opting for an approach to childbirth that’s different from the common medical version: less clinical and, hopefully, less expensive. You could use a midwife for maternity care, deliver at a birthing center or even have your baby at home. Costs will generally be lower in these settings, but you won’t have access to as much high-tech medical care if something goes wrong. Women report their share of the costs at a birthing center or for a home birth with a midwife to be in the ballpark of $3,000. Insurance plans vary widely in how they cover midwives and birthing centers.

Cost of birth in hospital

Nearly 99% of births in the U.S. take place in hospitals, making childbirth the most common reason for hospitalization. If you give birth in a hospital, you’ll spend at least one night there, or more if you’ve had a cesarean section (C-section). And you’ll typically need the services of nurses, anesthesiologists and an obstetrician or midwife. You may have procedures like fetal monitoring and postnatal care for you and your newborn. The costs for all these elements of a hospital birth add up.

Here is a breakdown of how the cost of a routine delivery in a hospital may look, as per a sample insurance plan on HealthCare.gov:

How health insurance covers childbirth

Health insurers must cover maternity care and childbirth. This is one of the 10 essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. Only grandfathered individual plans and short-term health insurance plans are exempt from this requirement. All other plans, including those on any state exchange or on the federal marketplace; those offered by employers; and those offered for the first time after 2013, must cover these 10 essential benefits.

Health insurance plans can, and most do, require pregnant women to pay for a portion of their costs for labor and delivery. But the Affordable Care Act makes it a bit easier to understand exactly how this may work because it requires insurers to create a standardized Summary of Benefits (SBC) for each plan they offer. One coverage example standardized across each plan’s SBC is having a baby with a normal delivery.

One unpleasant financial surprise for many new parents: Your newborn may start running up their own medical bills from the moment they are born. Insurance plans for families can charge a deductible and out-of-pocket costs for each covered individual, including your new little bundle of dollar signs, up to a predetermined maximum.

Also, insurance plans vary widely in how they cover midwives and birthing centers, and specifically which ones are in-network providers, so consult your insurer before you make this choice for your maternity care.

How much you’ll pay to have a baby — with health insurance

The amount you will pay out of pocket for the costs of childbirth will depend largely on whether or not you have health insurance and, if you do, on the cost-sharing structure (deductibles, copays and coinsurance) of the plan you choose.

If you do have health insurance, you may have to pay your deductible toward your inpatient care when you deliver your baby. You could also have copays or coinsurance toward things like medications, physician services or radiology.

Let’s use an example to illustrate total out-of-pocket costs for a mom-to-be with health insurance coverage.

Sample patient costs with deductibles and coinsurance

The chart below shows how much it costs to have a baby with different insurance plans for someone living in Arlington, Va. Included are the costs of the health insurance plan, pregnancy care and childbirth. Medical costs are based on HealthCare.gov’s calculation for the “cost for a healthy pregnancy and normal delivery.”

With a typical pregnancy, choosing a Platinum plan could save you about $6,039 during the policy year, even though the plan costs $144 more per month than a Bronze plan.

In the cases shown in the table, the medical costs for a typical pregnancy and childbirth do not reach the plan’s out-of-pocket maximum, which caps the amount that the person would pay for medical care during the year.

However, in a bad-case scenario where there are complications or other medical conditions to treat, medical costs could reach the plan’s out-of-pocket maximum. Even if this happens, the Platinum plan with its great benefits still leads to the lowest overall costs.

In a situation with childbirth complications, choosing a Platinum-tier plan could save you about $3,000 to $4,000 over the year.

Questions to ask your health insurance provider

Call the number on the back of your card and ask things like:

Question: Are the costs for pregnancy and childbirth capped at the individual level, or will the total family deductible and out-of-pocket maximum apply?

In most cases, family insurance plans will have both a deductible and out-of-pocket max for each individual as well as for all family members on the plan. This is significant because the cost of labor and delivery for a new mother is so high.

With most health plans, the mother’s costs will be capped at the individual level, with an out-of-pocket maximum as high as $8,700 for marketplace plans. However, if expensive health care is needed for the other family members, your household spending may also hit the family out-of-pocket maximum, which can’t be higher than $17,400.

Understanding how your insurance plan’s individual and family benefits work can help you to better prepare for medical bills. Even if the mother has reached her individual spending cap, your family and newborn could still have additional medical bills.

Question: Once I add my new baby to my plan, when will they start to incur charges toward their deductible, copays and coinsurance?

According to reports from women who’ve recently had a baby, some plans cover the newborn’s hospital care under the mother’s cost-sharing requirements until both are released from the hospital. Others consider the baby a new individual family member from the date of their birth, when their bills accrue to their own deductible and cost sharing. These might include their hospital stay, physician visits and lab tests.

Also, note that if you don’t already have a family plan, the addition of your baby can push you into one, with an accompanying rise in monthly premiums.

How your health insurer handles these issues can make a difference of thousands of dollars to your family budget.

Delivering a baby without health insurance coverage

If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll be responsible for all the costs for prenatal care and the birth of your child. However, many states make it easier for pregnant women to enroll in Medicaid or a state-sponsored health insurance program, through which all of their health care would be free or very low cost.

If she were not pregnant, she would have to earn less than $17,775 to qualify.

Those who can’t get coverage through a public program or through an employer can buy a plan through the health insurance marketplace or directly from an insurance company. A marketplace plan will usually be the cheapest because there are discounts available for those who have a low to moderate income. However, there are timing restrictions on when you can sign up for a marketplace plan.

If you’re pregnant and uninsured, you can only sign up for marketplace insurance:

If you use the special enrollment period after childbirth, the cost to deliver the baby won’t be covered by the plan.

To avoid being uninsured when giving birth, you can also purchase a health insurance policy directly from an insurer rather than through the marketplace. The monthly costs for a plan may be high, but they won’t be as high as paying full price to deliver the baby. Before enrolling, check the policy for any coverage exclusions about a current pregnancy.

Also, we typically recommend avoiding any short-term health insurance policies because these plans usually exclude pregnancy and childbirth.

If you don’t have health insurance during childbirth, you may be able to negotiate prices with the doctor and hospital. However, be aware that without insurance, your expenses for a complicated delivery or a seriously ill newborn could reach into the high tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

In closing

It’s hard to get around the expenses of childbirth. But if you’re pregnant, or trying to conceive, take a hard look at your options for health insurance coverage. Consider both your premiums and all the out-of-pocket costs you are likely to have to pay for your maternity care, from prenatal visits to ultrasounds to common prenatal tests, as well as the costs of labor and delivery. (Don’t forget your newborn’s share!)

When you’re facing a lot of expectable medical care, it may make financial sense to choose a plan with higher premiums if you’ll save money on the back end with lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.


Methodology

The average cost of childbirth without insurance is based on ValuePenguin’s independent research on vaginal births versus cesarean deliveries using hospital transparency data from the largest hospital systems in 39 states.

The average cost of childbirth for those with health insurance is based on marketplace health insurance plans offered in Arlington, Va., with averages across the 53 plans offered by Bright Health, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, Innovation Health and UnitedHealthcare.

Additional sources include the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and HealthCare.gov.


— Update: 02-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How much does it really cost to have a baby? from the website www.uwhealth.org for the keyword normal delivery cost.

The answer: It depends.

Factors include where you live, whether or not you have insurance and the details of your plan and what type of birth you have. Let’s break it down.

What do hospitals charge?

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services*, the national median charges for childbirth hospital stays in the United States include $13,524 for delivery and care for the mother and $3,660 for newborn care. That adds up to $16,884.

What are these charges for?

  • Your doctor’s services

  • Lab tests for you or your baby

  • Your room (costs vary depending on whether you choose a shared or private suite)

  • An anesthesiologist, if needed

  • Medications administered, such as an epidural

The type of birth you have plays a big role in your bill, since more complicated births require more care and often come with longer hospital stays. Here are the median costs by birth type:

  • Vaginal with no complications: $10,958

  • Vaginal with complications: $13,010

  • Cesarean with no complications: $18,570

  • Cesarean with complications: $21,704

Do I really have to pay that much?

Short answer: If you have insurance, no.

Maternity coverage is considered an essential health benefit. Under the ACA, pregnancy, labor, delivery, and newborn baby care must be covered by all health insurance plans offered to individuals, families, and small groups.

Read more  6 Risks Of Wearing Heels During Pregnancy

If you don’t have insurance, there might be state or local programs that could help with costs. In Illinois, the Moms & Babies program covers healthcare for eligible women while they are pregnant and for 60 days after the birth.

So, what can I expect to pay?

If you have insurance, ask your plan administrator these questions:

  • What is my deductible? This is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your benefits kick in.

  • What is my copay? This is the amount you pay for your appointments or hospital visits.

  • What is my coinsurance? This is the percentage of costs you cover once you’ve met your deductible, until you reach your out-of-pocket maximum.

  • What is my out-of-pocket maximum? This the highest amount you can expect to pay in a plan year — once you’ve hit this amount, your insurance will cover the rest.

Pay special attention to your out-of-pocket maximum. If your plan covers more than one person, you might have an individual out-of-pocket maximum and a family out-of-pocket maximum. In that case, when what you’ve paid toward individual maximums adds up to your family out-of-pocket maximum, your plan will pay 100 percent of the allowed amount for healthcare services for everyone on the plan for the rest of the year.

Any other costs I should consider?

Ask your doctor about the cost of your prenatal visits, tests, and ultrasounds. Any copays or coinsurance fees you pay along the way should be counted toward your deductible. Outside of doctor’s visits and your hospital stay, you’ll also want to think about:

  • Prenatal vitamins: These can get pricey, but your insurance may cover all or part of the cost

  • Childbirth classes: Your hospital might provide a free or low-cost option

  • Baby gear: You’ll want to purchase these things like clothes, a car seat, crib and diapers ahead of time.

How can I save money during my pregnancy and delivery?

  • Stay in-network. Out-of-network doctors or hospitals will be pricier and might not be covered at all.

  • Plan ahead by working with your doctor to create a birth plan. Your birth plan will document which tests you want or don’t want during labor, and doing the research now will help you make informed decisions ahead of time.

  • Shop around for prenatal vitamins. If your insurance doesn’t cover prenatal vitamins, compare prices on over-the-counter options. If you have an FSA or HSA, use that to make these purchases tax-free.


— Update: 03-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Much Does It Cost to Give Birth in the United States? It Depends on the State from the website www.ajmc.com for the keyword normal delivery cost.

Childbirth is the most common cause for inpatient admission in the United States while Cesarean section (C-section) is the most common operating room procedure conducted during inpatient hospital stays. However, according to data from a recent Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) report, the cost of childbirth can vary greatly depending on which state the birth takes place in. The procedure can cost roughly $8300 in Arkansas, while that total rises to nearly $20,000 in New York.

Researchers analyzed data from over 350,000 commercially insured deliveries across 35 states between 2016 and 2017. Using allowed amounts, researchers determined the cost of childbirth, defined as the combination of all insurer and patient out-of-pocket spending. Facility and professional claims associated with each inpatient admission were combined to determine total cost.

The average national cost of childbirth admission for an individual with employer-sponsored insurance was $13,811. When it comes to out-of-pocket spending, the average amount ranged from around $1000 in Washington, D.C., to roughly $2500 in South Carolina. Variations in both the cost of childbirth and benefit design accounted for the wide range of out-of-pocket expense totals.

Data show the main driver of geographic spending variation was the difference in the cost of a vaginal birth. “In general, California and northeastern states had higher spending per vaginal birth compared to midwestern and southern states. These differences in average spending per vaginal delivery could be due to a combination of variation in provider prices and the intensity of cases presenting in different states,” the researchers said.

In contrast, births via C-section, a more intensive surgical procedure, are typically associated with longer, more expensive admissions. The investigators found overall spending on C-section deliveries depend in part on the frequency with which the procedure occurs in each state.

Of the data collected, C-sections accounted for nearly 33% of births, while the remaining 67% consisted of vaginal births.

Although the procedure can be lifesaving for women and newborns when complications occur, such as bleeding, fetal distress, hypertensive disease, and infants in abnormal positions, C-sections are associated with complications in future births and are not without risk. The surgery is also associated with adulthood obesity, diabetes, respiratory infections, and delay in microbiota development.

Around the world, C-section births nearly doubled from 12% to 21% of all births between 2000 and 2015. But according to the World Health Organization, the recommended C-section rate is just 10%.

HCCI data show the C-section rate ranges from 20% in Utah to 39% in Florida, with it most often fluctuating between 25% and 35% in most states. “Southeastern and northeastern states had some of the highest C-section rates compared to C-section rates in the Midwest and West.”

Rising rates of often unnecessary C-sections may lead to increased overall costs. “Among our 2016 and 2017 pooled sample of people with employer-sponsored insurance, average spending per vaginal birth nationally was $12,235. Average spending per C-section, in contrast, was $17,004,” the researchers said.

Differences in spending per vaginal birth and C-sections were measured in each state. Despite all states reporting higher spendings on C-section, the gap widened and narrowed depending on the region. “States with higher spending per vaginal birth tended to have greater differences in per procedure spending between vaginal births and C-sections,” the researchers said.

Postpartum Care Costs

“Such geographic variation should encourage policy makers to think beyond national policies and address the needs of pregnant people at a regional or state level,” they noted. The findings also underscore the importance of variations in provider childbirth price to curb the cost of birth based on geographic location.Although high out-of-pocket and insurance spending is associated with childbirth, many mothers may incur additional costs when it comes to receiving postpartum care. Postpartum complications can include psychological conditions, such as postpartum depression, which affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States. In addition, many birth parents experience physical ailments in the months following birth, such as infection, cardiomyopathy, other cardiovascular conditions, and cerebrovascular accidents that can lead to death.

From 2000 to 2014, the maternal mortality ratio in the United States increased from 9.8 to 21.5 deaths per 100,000 live births. The crisis is especially acute among African American mothers, who are 3.5 times more likely to die in childbirth, or shortly afterward, than white women, according to the CDC.

According to the HCCI authors, “More than half of pregnancy-related deaths occur in the postpartum period, with nearly 12% of those (for which timing was known) occurring between 6 weeks and the year after delivery.”

Due in part to increasing maternal mortality in the United States, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends birthing parents receive comprehensive physical, social, and psychological care during the postpartum period.

A separate HCCI report details postpartum spending on commercially insured birth parents throughout the full year after birth. Researchers found that “although nearly 20% of overall postpartum spending was in the first 60 days, and almost 30% of spending was in the first 90 days, approximately 70% of spending occurred over the rest of the year.”

Data showed per person spending was slightly above $3100 over the course of 1 year after birth and that higher average spending was associated with birthing parents over the age of 45.

Surgery accounted for the largest percentage of postpartum health care spending (26%) followed by emergency department and ambulance services (17%) and evaluation and management services (12%). According to the authors, these percentages highlight the critical role insurance coverage pays in individuals’ ability to access and afford care in the year following childbirth. However, they note that in many states, birthing parents' access to Medicaid coverage ends after 60 days.

“The care that parents receive before, during and after childbirth represents a substantial proportion of national health care spending and utilization,” said Niall Brennan, president and CEO of HCCI. “Better information about how and when new parents use care can help drive improvements in quality and value.”


— Update: 03-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article What Is the Cost of Having a Baby? from the website smartasset.com for the keyword normal delivery cost.

For many expectant parents, one question looms above everything else: how much does it cost to have a baby? While you might be tempted to forget about this to focus on more exciting things like decorating your nursery and buying all the new clothes the baby will need, it’s an important thing to think about. The pregnancy itself is filled with costs that accompany the numerous doctor’s visits, tests and procedures you may have. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you have enough financial cushion before you decide to have a child. If you’re preparing to grow your family, you may want to consider enlisting the services of a financial advisor.

Average Cost of Having a Baby

The costs of having a baby include more than just the actual childbirth. These costs also include the regular check-ups, tests and prenatal care associated with pregnancy. The average price of having a baby through vaginal delivery is between $5,000 to $11,000 in most states, according to data collected by FAIR Health.

These prices include the total duration of care, the obstetrician’s fee (including prenatal care), the anesthesiologist’s fee and the hospital care fee. The average costs for a Cesarean or C-section birth range from $7,500 to $14,500. Complications during birth, however, for vaginal or C-section delivery will increase the charges for childbirth.

This doesn’t take into account the type of health insurance that someone may have when they decide to have a baby. So while the average costs are accurate, what you actually end up paying could be dramatically different. Some types of health coverage will pay the majority of the bill when you have a baby while others will cover a percentage of the total cost. This comes into play pretty quickly when we look at the state-specific data.

Cost of Having a Baby by State

Although we’ve listed the average costs of having a baby in the U.S., it’s important to note that these costs vary for each state. Key factors that influence the final costs of childbirth include the state and its cost of living, the type of birth delivery and whether or not the patient has health insurance. While the exact costs of childbirth range anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, we’ll look at the two states with the highest and lowest childbirth costs.

The cost of vaginal delivery with insurance in Alaska is $10,681, whereas the costs without insurance total $19,775, according to Fair Health data. The state with the lowest childbirth costs is Alabama. In Alabama, vaginal delivery with insurance costs $4,884. A delivery without insurance, however, costs $9,013. C-section deliveries, with or without insurance, for each state enhance your final costs significantly.

This, of course only covers the costs of actually having the baby and doesn’t go into the costs that are going to increase once the baby is born. Two of the major cost increases that you’re going to have when you have a baby are that your rent is going to increase with needing more space in your home, and you may need to spend money on childcare.

These costs vary quite widely by state, but no matter where you live you can expect that childcare expenses could cost an average of $6,000 – $10,000 while rent increases average $1,000 – $3,000 per month. Depending on your state, this can put the total first-year cost of having a baby somewhere between $15,000 – $30,000.

How Health Insurance Affects the Cost of Childbirth

Federal law mandates that pregnancy and maternity care receive coverage in health insurance plans. This requirement, however, contains two key exceptions. The first is that you can stay in your parent’s healthcare plan up until age 26. This doesn’t cover delivery and newborn care, but it covers pregnancy and maternity care. The other exception is that grandfathered health plans, or plans created on or before March 23, 2010, won’t guarantee pregnancy and maternity care.

If you want to know how much of the pregnancy and childbirth costs your health insurance will cover, keep in mind that the deductibles, copays and coinsurance associated with your plan will affect the amount covered.

Another factor that determines the number of medical costs your plan covers is how much money you’ve paid toward your out-of-pocket spending limit for the health plan year. Finally, the amount of costs covered is affected by whether or not your plan’s provider network includes the hospitals and doctors you’re using.

How to Save Before Having a Child

The process of having a child is one that requires a lot of preparation. But you can get ahead of the game in a few different ways. For starters, try to find out how much the hospitals near you will cover under your health insurance. This can get you a head start in knowing what it will cost you when the time comes.

You can also save money by cutting back on unnecessary purchases. Furthermore, the more you cut back on buying things you don’t absolutely need, the more money you’ll have to dedicate toward childbirth medical costs. You can keep these funds anywhere that you would keep an emergency fund, such as in a high-yield savings account.

Finally, many people financially plan a way out in advance of having a child. Just like saving for a wedding or a vacation, saving for a child can help you prepare for the added costs since having a baby is a new cost that isn’t likely to decrease much with the exception of paying for the actual birth. There will continue to be new costs for children as they age.

Read more  How much does it really cost to have a baby?

The Bottom Line

Overall, having a baby can be both a joyous and life-changing experience. It’s amazing to embrace your newborn with loving arms, but you don’t want to break the bank in the process. It’s important to remember the expenses that come with pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, keep in mind that complications during birth can increase those costs.

Tips for Saving Money

  • If you’re considering having a baby, it can be helpful to talk to a financial advisor first. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • One of the ways to best prepare yourself for the costs of having a baby is making a budget. Write a list of your most important expenses and cut out other unnecessary purchases. In other words, separate the needs from the wants. Before you know it, you’ll have a bit of leftover money.
  • Consider placing this extra money in a high-yield savings account that can help you make the most of your savings. These are the best savings accounts available now.

Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/Rostislav_Sedlacek, ©iStock.com/Kate_sept2004, ©iStock.com/SolStock


— Update: 03-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Much Does It Cost To Have A Baby? 2023 Averages from the website www.forbes.com for the keyword normal delivery cost.

Having a baby is one of the most momentous experiences of your life, but it can also be one of the most expensive. Spending money on essentials like baby furniture, a stroller and diapers can add up more quickly than you expect. You might also be surprised to see your hospital bill after delivery.

Average Cost of Childbirth in the US

Giving birth costs $18,865 on average, including pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker. Health insurance can cover most of that cost. But what if you don’t have health insurance? You can expect a hefty hospital bill.

The true cost of giving birth depends on many factors, like the type of birth you have and your location.

You can save thousands on childbirth if you have health insurance. Here’s the average cost of delivery and how much health insurance members usually pay in out-of-pocket costs.

Average childbirth costs

What Factors Into the Cost of Giving Birth?

The cost of having a baby can be unpredictable and you probably won’t know the final amount until your baby is at least a few months old and you’ve received all the bills. Here’s a look at the many variables that contribute to the price.

Location

The cost of giving birth varies based on where you live. That difference happens even if you have health insurance.

For women with health insurance, the Health Care Cost Institute estimates that the average out-of-pocket costs for birth are highest in Nebraska and lowest in Michigan. Here’s a look at average childbirth costs by state.

Average out-of-pocket costs for childbirth by state

Prenatal care

You can expect to visit your obstetrician’s office between 10 and 15 times for a normal pregnancy with no complications. You will need various tests, including routine blood work, a glucose test, genetic testing, ultrasounds and other screenings, which affect the cost of having a baby.

Type of birth

One of the biggest factors that impacts the cost of giving birth is the type of delivery. Vaginal births generally cost less than cesarean births, with and without health insurance.

Mother’s hospital charges

If you deliver your baby in the hospital, the cost of the hospital stay can vary significantly. For a vaginal delivery, the average hospital stay is 48 hours. For a cesarean birth, the average stay is 96 hours.

Your hospital charges could be much more expensive if there are complications during the delivery or if you need specialty care or monitoring after birth.

Medications

A medicated birth with an epidural will increase the cost of delivery. The cost of having a baby is also slightly higher if you’re induced rather than having a spontaneous birth.

Baby’s hospital charges

All babies need some basic medical care after delivery. Doctors will monitor your baby’s breathing and heart rate, administer their first vaccines and take a blood sample before you and the baby can get discharged. For babies with difficult births or babies born with certain conditions, there can be additional monitoring and tests that will add to the total hospital charge.

Newborn care

After your baby is born, they will need to visit a pediatrician to receive newborn care. Your baby will receive a complete physical exam and additional vaccines as part of the exam. You might also need to meet a lactation consultant within the first few weeks after delivery, which is usually covered by insurance.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay If You Have Insurance?

The average out-of-pocket cost for childbirth with health insurance is $2,854, but the costs for vaginal births are lower than those for cesarean births. The average out-of-pocket spending for a vaginal delivery is $2,655, compared to $3,214 for cesarean births.

For labor and delivery, out-of-pocket costs can include a health insurance deductible, copayments and coinsurance, depending on the specifics of your plan. Your out-of-pocket costs will be lower if you’ve already reached your annual deductible.

You can also keep your out-of-pocket costs as low as possible by giving birth at an in-network hospital or facility. Getting care outside your health plan’s provider network may result in you paying more for care or all of the out-of-network care costs.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay If You Don’t Have Insurance?

Without health insurance, you can expect to pay about $18,865 for childbirth, based on the national average from Peterson-KFF data. But the exact cost of giving birth varies based on the type of birth (among other factors).

If you don’t have health insurance, you can expect to pay a much higher cost for pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. Without insurance, you’re responsible for all your medical expenses during pregnancy and after birth.

What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Medical Bills After Childbirth?

You have a few options if you deliver a baby and can’t afford to pay the medical bills.

Set up payment plan: Ask the hospital if you can set up a payment plan. Breaking up the lump sum payment can make the cost more manageable. If you know you’re going to need assistance, talk to the hospital as soon as possible.

Request discounted rate: You might also qualify for a discounted rate on your medical bills if your hospital or doctor is willing to work with you and you’re uninsured or meet certain income requirements. It won’t completely erase the money you owe, but it can lessen the financial burden.

Government health insurance: Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid or your state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you meet the Medicaid or CHIP requirements in your state, your policy will cover health care expenses retroactively for three months before the application date, but you must have been eligible for Medicaid during that period.

There may also be state-specific grants or financial assistance programs. A representative from your hospital’s billing department can likely provide some options if you need financial aid after childbirth.

Can You Get Insurance While Pregnant?

Being pregnant doesn’t prevent you from getting health insurance if you qualify.

You can get health insurance while you’re pregnant through the health insurance marketplace, regardless of how far along you are into your pregnancy. You can also get Medicaid during pregnancy if you meet the income requirements.

Health insurance plans purchased through the marketplace, as well as Medicaid plans, provide coverage during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. You can also look into CHIP, which provides low-cost health insurance to children in low-income families. CHIP additionally covers pregnant women in some states.

Health insurance is available during pregnancy, but you can only enroll in a plan during certain periods. To get a standard plan through the health insurance marketplace, you must enroll during open enrollment, which starts on Nov. 1. If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, you can enroll at any point during the year.

You can, however, purchase health insurance outside of open enrollment if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). Pregnancy isn’t typically a qualifying event for a special enrollment period in most states, but giving birth can launch a special enrollment period. If you recently gave birth, you’re eligible for a SEP within 60 days of your baby’s birth. Other examples of SEPs include:

  • Moving to a new state
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Losing health insurance through an employer

Other Childbirth Costs to Expect

Giving birth in a hospital is usually the most expensive cost associated with childbirth. You’ll also need to spend money on other things. Here’s a list of additional childbirth costs.

Costs generally covered by health insurance

How Do You Get Insurance to Cover Childbirth Costs?

Health insurance automatically covers pregnancy care and childbirth. The amount of coverage depends on your health plan and your out-of-pocket costs.

After each appointment and following childbirth, the hospital will coordinate with your insurance company to submit claims. The insurance company will determine how much of the cost it will cover and you’ll get billed for the rest. If you receive care from an in-network provider, you likely won’t be involved in the claim process. But if you go to an out-of-network hospital, you might be responsible for filing the claims yourself.

You may need to reach out to your insurance company in some instances. For example, to get a free breast pump through your insurance company, you need to coordinate with them directly and provide a prescription from your doctor if necessary.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby FAQs


— Update: 04-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby in America? from the website www.investopedia.com for the keyword normal delivery cost.

For pregnant Americans, giving birth is only half the challenge. The other half is paying for it. The Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker estimates the average cost of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care for Americans with insurance is $18,865. Nearly $3,000 of that is paid for out of pocket.

While every baby is different, the cost of giving birth in the United States is consistently high. Shouldering that cost can be a challenge for many families, especially those who are uninsured or underinsured, but knowing what expenses to expect can help you prepare.

Average Cost of Having a Baby in the U.S.

While it is not the only bill associated with having a baby, birth is often the largest.

In the U.S., the average cost of childbirth in 2020 was $13,393. However, costs vary significantly depending on how and where the baby is delivered. The median cost of vaginal delivery ranged from $6,557 in Mississippi to $16,668 in California. Cesarean sections, or C-sections as they are commonly called, are more expensive across the board, with costs ranging from $9,377 in Mississippi to $27,527 in Alaska. These figures do not even include the cost of the actual pregnancy itself nor post-partum care, which can significantly add to the cost.

The exact cost of having a baby is rather hard to predict. Factors like preexisting health conditions and the baby’s spinal development can dramatically increase costs for an otherwise standard birth. Further, having multiple babies will also increase the bill. Don’t forget the cost of doulas, who are not covered by most health insurance, as well as any postpartum support like lactation specialists and therapists for postpartum depression.

How This Compares to Other Countries

It may come as no surprise that the U.S., which spends more on healthcare than any other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country, is one of the most expensive places in the world to give birth.

A report comparing medical care costs across 10 countries found the median cost of a C-section and vaginal delivery in the U.S. in 2019 was $11,326 and $7,500, respectively. In Switzerland, the next most expensive country, those procedures cost $7,948 and $5,634 on average. The study found that Americans spent nearly twice as much as Australians for childbirth and more than three times as much as their German peers. 

And in some countries, giving birth is nearly free. In Finland, for example, visits to public maternity and child health clinics are free, and a public hospital can charge no more than €49.60 a day for occupancy.

How Type of Birth Impacts Cost

In the U.S., the type of birth you have can significantly impact how much it costs.

Vaginal Birth

According to the Peterson-KFF study, the average cost of a pregnancy that results in vaginal birth is $14,768, of which about $2,655 is usually paid out of pocket. This figure includes the cost of the pregnancy and post-partum care. And the average cost of vaginal birth alone exceeds $10,000 in more than half of U.S. states. Vaginal birth expenses include the cost of using a delivery room and nursery, lab work, and medications. 

For the uninsured, FAIR Health maintains a tool that estimates healthcare expenses based on ZIP code.

C-section

The average cost of a pregnancy resulting in a C-section is $26,280, of which $3,214 is paid out of pocket, including cost of pregnancy and post-partum care. The average cost of a C-section only is more than $10,000 in all but two states and exceeds $15,000 in 33 states.

A C-section significantly increases the cost of delivery, which requires an operating room, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and overnight hospitalization. Pregnancies that result in C-sections may also come with higher costs because of the need for more intensive care resulting from complications or preexisting conditions that make the C-section necessary.

Hospital vs. Home Birth

Home births are a low-cost option for those who do not have a history of medical complications. One study estimates that the average cost of home birth—including prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care—was $4,650 in 2021. Home births incur no facility costs and are often performed without medication, which is why they are typically far less expensive than hospital births.

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However, since many insurance plans do not cover home birth, people who choose this option may need to pay supervising healthcare providers out of pocket. Those who give birth at home also miss out on potential savings from having other expenses, like infant inoculations or circumcision, bundled in hospital charges. And, of course, anyone planning to give birth at home should budget for the unexpected.

Birthing centers can be a middle-of-the-road option. They are usually more expensive than home birth but less expensive than hospitals. Some accept health insurance, which significantly reduces out-of-pocket costs.

Adoption

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, adoption costs can range from $0 to $40,000. The wide range covers a variety of adoption procedures, from foster care at the low-cost end ($0 except for legal fees) to private and international adoptions at the high end ($20,000+).

Costs include legal fees, medical care for the birthing parent, travel fees, medical evaluations, and even training for the adoptive parents.

How Health Insurance Affects the Cost of Childbirth

The Affordable Care Act requires that all qualified employer-sponsored and private health insurance plans cover maternal care and childbirth. Though what exactly is covered and how much you pay out of pocket depends on the plan, health insurance significantly reduces the cost of pregnancy.

Without insurance, birth parents are expected to pay the full cost of doctor visits, medications, and childbirth, which can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars without financial assistance. According to data provided to Investopedia by FAIR Health, providers consistently bill much more for childbirth than insurers and insured patients pay. The median allowed cost of a C-section in the U.S. is about $15,900, but the median amount charged by providers is more than $35,500.  

For those without private or employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid covers pregnancy for low-income people in every state, though eligibility criteria vary widely. Some states even cover pregnancy through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), accommodating more people with an income eligibility cutoff higher than Medicaid.

Financial Assistance Options for Childbirth

Although patients are expected to pay for childbirth, there are more ways to lower healthcare costs than most people think.

Every hospital should have financial assistance policies, and it’s possible to negotiate healthcare costs. Plus, several states have enacted laws that require hospitals to provide free or discounted services to patients below certain income thresholds. Familiarize yourself with these and other laws, outlined in the National Consumer Law Center’s state-by-state guide to medical debtor protection laws.

In addition to financial assistance obtained through the hospital or mandated by law, several federal and state-level programs can assist with medical expenses related to pregnancy.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

In addition to serving children under 5 years old, WIC is a nutrition assistance program that serves pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum people.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

CHIP offers low-cost health coverage for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. CHIP eligibility varies by state, but CHIP covers pregnant people in nearly half of all states.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention can connect you with your area’s health department to find financial assistance programs.

The Bottom Line

Childbirth in the U.S. is an expensive undertaking, especially compared to other rich countries. C-sections tend to be more expensive than vaginal births, and giving birth in a hospital is usually more expensive than a home birth. Insurance can go a long way to limit the costs of childbirth. Even so, expectant parents should consult with their insurance and healthcare providers well in advance of their due date to create a budget that accounts for medications, facilities, healthcare providers, and the unexpected.

Uninsured parents may be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, both of which will assist with childbirth costs. Several states have also enacted laws that require hospitals to provide financial assistance to patients with income below certain thresholds. Anyone facing overwhelming bills can speak with their state's or community's health department for help navigating the specific financial assistance programs available to them.


— Update: 04-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How Much It Costs to Have a Hospital Birth from the website www.parents.com for the keyword normal delivery cost.

Having a baby is expensive. And it's not just the price of raising the child. The costs of prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care add up quickly, too. In fact, childbirth is commonly one of the most costly health events American families experience during their childbearing years.

A lot of factors can move your bottom line, says Aleksandr M. Fuks, M.D., Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens in New York. Here’s a breakdown of how much it costs to have a hospital birth and the factors that can increase or decrease your hospital bill.

Calculating the Cost of Childbirth

Estimating the cost of a hospital birth in the U.S. isn't as simple as it should be. Not only do different types of births come with different price tags, but your providers, hospital, location, and health insurance coverage (or lack thereof) will all factor into the final total on your hospital bills. And how much of that total cost you will pay out of your own pocket is yet another complicated equation.

To get an idea of where the cost of a hospital birth starts, here is a quick glance at four major categories of birth types and the average national cost associated with them, according to data from Premier Healthcare Database, which looked at 25% of births in the U.S. between 2008 and 2018.

Other data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) looked specifically at childbirth costs for pregnant people with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and included prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care costs, which may be why the following numbers are much higher than those from Premier’s report. It is estimated that as of 2020, about 54% of Americans were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, according to the United States Census Bureau.

The cost of a hospital birth also depends on your state. You can get an estimate of what childbirth costs are in your state with or without insurance through Fair Health’s free healthcare expenses tool.

Average Cost by Type of Birth

Whether you deliver your baby vaginally or via C-section and whether there are complications will have a significant impact on the overall cost of your hospital birth. While it isn't always possible to know how your baby will come into the world, talking with your prenatal care provider about your birth plan and individual risk factors can help paint a clearer picture.

Vaginal birth

Vaginal deliveries account for about 7 in 10 childbirth in the U.S., and C-sections account for about 3 in 10. High-risk pregnancies result in even higher rates of C-sections than average, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

According to data collected by Fair Health, the average cost of having a vaginal delivery is between $5,000 and $11,000 in most states.

Cesarean birth

C-section births tend to be more expensive than vaginal births, with costs ranging from $7,500 to $14,500. A C-section often costs more because it is a major operation that involves anesthesia, longer hospital stays, and higher instances of morbidity and mortality, says Toni Stern, M.D., Chief Patient Experience Officer in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. All of these factors mean more resources used—and more dollars spent.

Premature birth

Premature birth is one of the biggest game-changers in terms of the costs of hospital birth. This complication occurs in about 1 of 9 pregnancies. Average health care costs for premature and low birth weight infants are over 10 times more costly than for newborns without complications, according to data from the March of Dimes.

However, knowing the symptoms of preterm labor and avoiding particular risk factors (such as excessive exercise, recreational drug use, smoking, and drinking alcohol) can lower your chance of going into premature labor. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, talk to your prenatal care provider about what you can do to help prevent premature delivery.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), if you do go into premature labor, your doctor may use medications to halt uterine contractions—but those necessary meds will add to your hospital bill. And if they cause additional maternal complications, they are unfortunately going to cost you even more.

Other birth complications

Complications during childbirth can further increase the overall cost. For a vaginal delivery with complications requiring an operating room procedure, the cost is an average of $10,700—nearly double the average cost of a vaginal delivery without complications, according to a report by Premier on maternal and infant health trends.

People with high-risk pregnancies and/or preexisting conditions like obesity and diabetes are more likely to experience complications during delivery. Advanced maternal age (being over 35) may also increase your odds of needing interventions during birth. People carrying multiples are also more likely to end up with higher hospital bills.

How Your Health and Your Baby's Health Affect Cost

Happy and healthy—that’s all that matters, right? Although that wish has nothing to do with hospital costs, your health and your baby’s health can impact them. Labor that does not progress is one of the most frequent labor complications, and needing to be induced can increase your hospital bill.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), other common (and costly, but not-so-common) delivery complications include premature rupture of the amniotic sac, abnormal presentation, dangerous umbilical cord positioning, difficulty breathing, amniotic fluid embolisms, irregular blood pressure, postpartum hemorrhage, bleeding in the brain, fluid accumulation in the brain, neurological problems, intestinal problems, jaundice, and anemia.

Dr. Stern says that many of these complications are out of your hands, but you can help ensure they are treated as quickly and easily as possible by getting regular prenatal care. You want your health care team to know you and your baby's chart backward and forward, including all of your medications, allergies, health conditions, and any problems experienced during pregnancy, as all of these can affect how your doctor will treat you on the big day.

Talk, talk, talk with your OB-GYN during your prenatal checkups and on the big day. During the delivery, they can read the monitors, but not your mind—and since you'll be in labor, you may not remember to tell them all the pertinent details.

Be aware that certain health conditions can also increase your risk of complications, and by extension, delivery costs. Premier's analysis found that pregnant people with conditions like diabetes, obesity, or chronic pain had deliveries that were $1,000 to $2,200 more expensive on average compared to those with uncomplicated deliveries.

Essentially, the better health you are in, the better your chances of fewer complications and paying less for your baby's delivery.

How Health Insurance Coverage Factors Into Cost

Your personal health insurance coverage, including deductibles, cost-sharing, co-pays, and other variables, as well as which doctor and hospital you go to, will also significantly affect how much you pay for a hospital birth. Unfortunately, medical billing and insurance can be complex and error-prone.

If you don't know your maternity coverage, it's time to take another look. Carefully read the summary of benefits to fully understand your coverage. Pay attention to your co-pays, deductible, out-of-pocket maximums, and, of course, what percentage of maternity care is covered after your deductible is met.

Health insurance is vital to obtaining maternity care services—and being able to afford them—according to the March of Dimes. But having maternity coverage doesn’t necessarily mean that your maternity care will be fully paid for. How much of the total cost of your baby’s hospital birth will be paid by your health insurance plan (versus out of your wallet) depends on your individual plan.

The impact of the ACA on maternity coverage

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pregnancy is no longer considered a pre-existing condition for most major plans, and pregnancy care and childbirth must be covered in all individual and small group insurance policies. That is to say that if you apply for coverage with an ACA-compliant insurance plan while pregnant, the health plan cannot deny you coverage and pregnancy and maternity care must be covered.

Additionally, if your plan covers maternity care, you are entitled to a minimum of 48 hours of hospital stay after a vaginal delivery or 96 hours after a C-section, according to HealthCare.gov. You also don’t need to be preauthorized from your insurance plan for the minimum hospital stay to be covered.

In-network vs. out-of-network providers

To reduce your overall hospital bill and avoid surprise out-of-network expenses, make sure that both your chosen doctor and hospital are in-network (i.e., are contracted with your insurance company). You'll want to check both; just because your in-network doctor has privileges at a hospital doesn't mean that the hospital is also in-network for your plan and vice versa.

To further complicate matters, it's also possible for providers like anesthesiologists (should you choose to have an epidural or you require a C-section or other surgery) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) personnel (should your baby require special care) to be out-of-network even if the hospital where the care is provided is in-network.

Though the federal No Surprises Act that went into effect in 2022 attempts to limit these types of surprise out-of-network costs for emergency services provided in in-network hospitals, it’s best to know ahead of time what you’ll be dealing with.

Resources for low-cost health insurance

According to the American Community Survey, over 15% of people between the ages of 19 and 34 are uninsured in the U.S. If you’re in need of health insurance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information to help connect people with health assistance resources.

Programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may help you find low-cost health insurance coverage if you’re not eligible for Medicaid.

References

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About the Author: Tung Chi