Monday, November 15, 2010

How much does it cost to have a baby without insurance?

We had a difficult decision to make last year. I got hit by a layoff with my Fortune 500 employer but we knew it was our best opportunity to have a baby.

At the time, I called every hospital and doctor's office in the area to see if I could get an idea of price. That was a lot more difficult than it should have been -- as it seems that most hospitals have no idea.  After a lot of digging, my calculation was that it would cost $8,000 out of pocket.  This was also with the assumption that we would carry medical insurance on my wife (but not maternity) so any complications would be covered.

We had a relatively uneventful birth with no complications. After tallying all the bills, it turns out that was a pretty accurate estimate. Here is what we were billed for. I hope this is helpful to some of you out there who are in the same boat.

The first line is the "fake" price you see on the bill.  I hope that no one really pays this.
The second line is the insurance negotiated price.  This is what insurance uses to figure your co-pay.
The third line is the cash price.  This is a 50% discount on the retail price -- and oddly enough -- also cheaper than the insurance negotiated rate.

Location: Raleigh/Durham, NC, USA

Anest. Hospital Lab OBGYN Path Specialist Total Result
Sum - Retail $1,404 $9,223 $237 $3,677 $80 $2,874 $17,495
Sum - Insurance Negotiated Rate $1,123 $5,979 $92 $2,157 $60 $2,051 $11,463
Sum - Cash 50% $702 $4,612 $119 $1,839 $40 $1,437 $8,748