America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. The best country in the world, right? Well, due to our broken healthcare system, some say no. In fact, many cannot afford the natural and beautiful experience of becoming a family, due to insane hospital bills that come flooding in after a baby is born. Just look at Reddit user The Only Toast’s hospital bill as an example.
Entitled, “The Cost of Our Baby’s Birth (C-Section) in the U.S.,” the post is sparking a lot of discussion, with nearly 6,000 comments. Many are responding with shock and disgust — but even more disturbing is how many commenters are saying the same thing happened to them.
With a total bill of $41,158.50, which includes nearly $9,000 for drugs and almost $6,000 for the labor room alone, this Reddit posts highlights the shocking cost of having a baby in the U.S. today.
Over 40 grand. That’s like a down payment on a house. Or a year’s tuition at a private college. Or an exotic, month-long Mediterranean cruise.
The bill does reflect the extra cost of a C-section, compared to a vaginal birth. The surgery incurred an additional $5,000, which could have also increased pharmaceutical and recovery costs, but obviously the doctors felt it was a necessary procedure for the safety of mom and baby.
But I’ll tell you what. I had three vaginal births (no C-sections) and my bills weren’t cheap either. And yes, we had “good insurance.” In fact, our anticipated bills were high enough that our hospital suggested “payment plans” in the months leading up the birth of each child. Each time we went in for an appointment, we paid a portion, which helped to offset what would likely have been an astronomical sum for two young parents.
And it sounds like this Reddit user’s story isn’t unique. According to an article in Women’s Health magazine, having to pay thousands of dollars after insurance paid its portion is relatively common.
“Our bill from just the obstetrician was around $3,000 — that’s not accounting for any hospital or anesthesiologist fees,” one mother shared. “We definitely expected it to be high because our insurance isn’t the best, but our hospital bills never stopped. It was constant and seemed never-ending. What we didn’t think about is that you start to get bills for the baby, as well. For the next pregnancy, we’re putting money in our HSA to help.”
They ended up paying $6,000 when it was all said and done.
A commenter on The Only Toast’s Reddit post said:
“Yeah I live in northeast Texas and when my wife and I had our daughter in September of 2014 she had to have a C section as well, after a whole day and night of pushing. I remember seeing the breakdown of the bills when I got it from the Hospital and Insurance. We don’t live in a big city so our bill was a touch over $20,000, ultimately we ended up paying about $3,000 after meeting our nearly $8,000 deductible, so I guess it was more than $20K prior to all that. It took time and payments and in about September of last year I paid her off. We now own our daughter out right.”
What?! How did we get here? How is it possible that in 21st century America, it costs as much as $41,000 to have a baby?!
And with the rising percentage of mothers having C-sections, those costs are not likely to go down any time soon. According to Parents magazine, one out of three women gives birth via C-section. Sometimes they are planned, sometimes not. So for the woman who goes into labor not anticipating major surgery, imagine the sticker shock she then feels when that bill comes in the mail. Barely recovered, she now finds out she owes eight months’ wages to the hospital. How will she ever pay this off?
So, as usual, other developed countries around the world shake their heads in dismay at how broken American healthcare is.
“Wow, $3000 is a big amount of money, just because you decided to have a child!” another Reddit commenter said. “I cannot believe that this happens in a ‘developed’ country; as an European citizen, I cannot understand it… You must fight to get a good health system, it’s the pillar of a decent country.”
We know we need to do better. Our politicians know we need to do better. It seems that one side of the aisle tries and the other side fights it. And then, the other side tries and is met with resistance too. In the meantime, while our elected officials duke it out in Washington, moms and dads are just trying to buy diapers and figure out how in the heck they are doing to pay off a hospital bill that costs more than the car in their garage.
Come on, America. While there’s no price tag you can put on creating life, at this rate, more and more couples are going to think twice about doing just that. Or they are going to go into debt as they become parents in one of the most modernized nations in the world.