And the $65,000 question is… How much does a birth cost? It’s actually only $63k

Posted on

Today we received our final bill from the hospital for the delivery of the wee one.  Thank goodness for awesome insurance.

This is our actual bill

This is our actual bill from the hospital.  A little delayed thanks to USPS’ failure to forward

We have been keeping our fingers crossed that the delivery was free as the the hospital was yet to bill us.  In the end the damage was nowhere near what we had expected, and we’ll definitely consider ourselves lucky that we escaped what was expected to be a significantly higher out of pocket expense.  Our insurance company had already prepped me to be ready for a $5000 max out-of-pocket bill.  Damn them toying with my emotions.

Last week the Washington Post ran an infographic which popped up on my RSS feed which, along with my insurance company, only furthered my expectation of a massive bill.  The interractive graphic compares the costs of the same medical procedures throughout the world.

Spoiler – The United States is the highest for nearly everything on the list.

The hospital provided a full itemized list of all services provided and it isn’t pretty.  A few items of note…

  • Lotion $58 – It wasn’t even name brand
  • Underwear $40 – It wasn’t sexy
  • Breast Pump $656 – It is currently $350 on Amazon
  • Flu Shot $238 – It’s $15 at Walgreens
  • A slew of drugs that Walmart offers for $5-15 w/out insurance billed at >$250/dose

After all was said and done, the hospital provided a $35k discount to our insurance company leaving us with a very reasonable amount due.

While I’m am glad that we owe so little, the invoice is incredibly frustrating.  A few years ago I was self-employed, significantly underinsured, and was stuck with obnoxiously large medical bills.  When I approached the provider for a discount or payment plan, none was offered.  I knew the bill was inflated, but without the negotiating power of a large insurance company I was stuck with the bills.

We got a horrible deal

As I was finishing this blog a follow-up article from the Washington Post was posted that includes 21 graphs comparing the costs of procedures in the US vs other countries.  Even with the discount to our insurance company, looks like we are well above the 95th percentile.