The cost for women in the United States to have a baby is now equivalent to more than one month’s salary, according to a study published in the January 2020 edition of Health Affairs.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that women with employer sponsored health benefits pay on average $4,500 for maternity care and delivery of their babies.
“This $4,500 bill is coming in the mail at the same time these folks already have other financial burdens on their plate,” said Dr. Michelle Moniz, the OB-GYN who coauthored the study.
Dr. Moniz said she was interested in conducting the study after seeing women delaying their maternity care as a result of financial burdens.
Researchers used data from across the country for 2008 to 2015 that included a sample of more than 600,000 women.
The study found that out-of-pocket spending rose in those years even though the actual cost to have a baby remained the same.
The study found that the increase was largely driven by women with higher deductible insurance plans.
Jordan Paul, who gave birth to a baby girl last July, said her insurance plan has a $5,000 deductible.
The Estero mother said she saved for it utilizing a health savings account. But, when she had a complication after delivery, her bill doubled.
“It ended up being a really awful ending to what should have been a really great experience,” Paul said.
The study found that, even without complications, the out-of-pocket responsibility for expecting mothers is on the rise.
Dr. Moniz recommended that pregnant woman and their providers communicate about ways to reduce cost to alleviate the financial burden.
On WINK News at 6: Hear from a mother who dropped her insurance policy and negotiated a self-pay price to have a baby.