Cost of Giving Birth Continues to Rise 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on May 29, 2024

Cost of Giving Birth Continues to Rise 

One couple’s ordeal with the costs associated with the birth of their daughter has convinced them to be a one-child family, according to KFF Health News. Their story shines a light on the rising cost of giving birth in America. 

Andrew and Heather Crivilare of Jacksonville, Illinois experienced physical, financial, and emotional pain almost immediately after the birth of their daughter. That’s when medical bills amounting to nearly $5,000 began arriving at their door. 

During the pregnancy, Heather developed preeclampsia that required medication to treat high blood pressure., Her doctors performed a cesarean section a month before her due date. Although Heather spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, she was otherwise healthy and experienced no complications related to the cesarean section.  

The Crivilares had health insurance with higher premiums that they expected would reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Despite this, they still could not keep up with the pace of medical bills stacking up.  

According to data from the University of Michigan, consumers with private health insurance incur nearly $3,000 in bills related to pregnancy and childbirth. This jumps up to nearly $5,000 for babies that need to be in neonatal ICU, which was the case for the Crivilares’s baby. Dr. Michelle Moniz, an OB-GYN doctor at the University of Michigan who was involved in the study, said that many expecting parents find themselves making sacrifices, “forc[ing] very difficult trade-offs for families. Even though they have insurance, they still have these very high bills.” 

A KFF poll found that the costs associated with childbirth account for roughly 12 percent of the 100 million consumers with medical debt. Additionally, women between eighteen and thirty-five who have had a baby in the past eighteen months are twice as likely to have medical debt as women in the same age range who have not given birth.  

The Crivilares were able to pay off their original debt within a year, but now face new challenges as their baby, Rita, had an ear infection that required surgery, sinking the couple back into medical debt. As a result, Heather and Andrew decided not to have more children. 

Future parents have enough to worry about before the arrival of a child; the high costs of giving birth should not be one of those worries. CQC urges lawmakers, insurance companies, and providers to work together to find solutions to make childbirth more affordable so new parents can avoid going into medical debt.