The Sky-High Cost of Birth

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The Sky-High Cost of Birth

The Sky-High Cost of Birth
Source: The Sky-High Cost of Birth

//projecteve.com

If you or a loved one have given birth in recent years, these numbers might be familiar.
– How much is all of this going to cost?[estimate]: $4,000-$45,000[1]
– (REAL easy to budget for, right?)
– The bill:[1]
– –Ultrasound: $935
– –Genetic testing: $1,500
– –Emergency visit $1,600
– –Vaginal delivery:$11,000 
– –C-section: $22,134
– Charges can easily surmount half a years income for an average American family.
– And that's without twins.Even with large patient contributions, pregnancies are still the largest insurance payout catagory for Doctors and Hospitals.[1]
– Decline of pregnancy “packages” and itemized charges have led to

– In 6 years:[1]
– 49% increase in price of vaginal delivery
– 41% increase in price c-section delivery
– For Insurance companies.
– And 4x increase in what patients pay.

– 2 decades ago women often paid nothing for giving birth, unless they wanted a private hospital, tv in their room, etc.
– Giving birth is one of the most universal medical encounters. Shouldn't the price be predictable too?

– So what can you do?

Pregnant families

– Around the world:
– Giving birth is much less pricy throughout most of the world. And still provides access to the same cutting edge care when needed.
– Tip one: Look for hospitals and birthing centers that will bundle services. A flat fee or a sliding scale based on packages is best.
– –Most of the price difference between U.S. care and that of other nations is that we bill seperately for every procedure, jacking up prices and losing efficiency.
– Tip two: For healthy babies/mothers, use a midwife.
– Midwives cost much less than traditional hospital services. They are exceedingly common around most of the developed world, and are fine for pregnancies without complications.
– –Percentage midwife use–
– U.S.–8%
– Netherlands–45%
– Britain–68%

At home:

– Tip Three: Check every bill. Ask for estimates. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.
– Mistakes on medical bills are quite common. Check to see if you were double billed, overbilled, or billed for a procedure you didn't even recieve. Once the bill checks out, negotiate to a lower price.
– Tip Four: Are you low or high risk?
– Low risk pregnancies can get by with many fewer procedures, including the use of a midwife, saving big bucks.
– Tip Five:Don't be afraid to notify HR.
– Your second trimester is the recommended time at which to notify those at work. Good HR departments have the power to work out service bundles with local hospitals and clinics, and can inform you of recommendeded medical guidelines.
– Tip Six: Save money like crazy
– Tip seven: Are you having more than one child?
– Your chances of complications and need for more medical care are increased. Ask your insurance to assign you a case manager, so you can easily ask questions when you need to.
– Tip eight: Foremost, look out for you/your child's health
– Skipping needed procedures to save money can lead to much greater costs in the future. Lifelong health problems for mother and child can be much costlier than
– Tip Nine: Become an expert consumer
– Quotes can be wildly misleading in medical expenses. Learn what procedures are optional, and what non-optional procedures should really cost.
– Tip Ten: Be your own advocate.
– At the end of the day, it's up to you to be proactive, knowledgeable, and a good manager of this very important stage in your life.

HR departments

– Tip One: be your employees strongest advocate.
– There's no better way to win over an employee than helping them through this important and often nerve-wracking time in their life.
– Tip Two:Negotiate en masse
– Locate or negotiate with facilities to offer employees bundles/flat rate pregnancy healthcare. Negotiating en masse gives you more leverage.
– Tip Three: Don't make pregnant employee's(/husbands) afraid to talk to you.
– Tip Four: Share medical guidelines, not suggestions of particular clinics.
– Because tests/procedures are incentivized, many clinics will try to sell you on check ups national medical associations say you don't necessarily need.
– Tip Five: Take care of your human “resources”
– Worry-free and healthy employees will perform the best.Giving birth has never been a simple thing, arm yourself with the knowledge needed to make yourself a skilled consumer, patient, or parent.

Sources

– [1]http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/health/american-way-of-birth-costliest-in-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
– [2]http://pregnancy.about.com/od/laborbirth/a/babycost_2.htm
– [3]http://transform.childbirthconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Cost-of-Having-a-Baby1.pdf

 

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Meridith Dennes is a co-founder and the CEO of Project Eve LLC, a leading women's lifestyle media company online including some of the web's best loved communities including the eponymous Project Eve, Getting Balance, Project Eve Moms, Project Eve Money and Scary Puppy Silly Kitty. With a digital readership in excess of 20+ million monthly uniques, and over 1 million social media followers, Project Eve provides the news and resources to inspire and empower women. Meridith also works as a digital consultant and social media strategist and has worked with several Fortune 500 companies to help increase brand awareness and improve social media engagement.Meridith holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business. Prior to founding Project Eve, she spent 15 years working in investment banking. Meridith currently lives in Vermont with her husband and 2 daughters and spends her free time teaching skiing, practicing yoga, hiking and snowshoeing.