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The High Cost of Birthing

We got the receipt from Tulane University Hospital & Clinic’s Healthcare Payment System. For the record, we racked up $2,484.00 in room charges (two nights’ stay) and a whopping $16,499.28 in “ancillary” charges.

But we have group insurance through our employers. We actually paid $250 and just got billed for $170 more.

I can’t even begin to imagine how we’d cope without insurance. These charges would add up to more than half of Xy’s annual salary. That’s absurd.

Update: The hospital sent a follow-up bill. After insurance, we owed an additional $463.28.

Update: (April 30) The anesthesiology group sent their bill for over $4,000. We owe $536.72.

Published inFamilyFinancial Shit


  1. Holy crap, that’s an insane price!

    All of our prenatal and birth expenses added up to $1600. We had been told that it would have been more like $8,000 if we’d done a hospital birth. Wonder why yours was twice that?

  2. spab spab

    We got you beat. Sonya had a C-section so 3 days in the hospital: $17,306. Another $4,536 just to pull him out do some probing, etc. I used to have it written down, it was somewhere in the $30/K+ range. We have BCBS, so we paid around $800.

  3. Right. Xy had a Cesarean as well, but only stayed two nights. I think the surgery may be why our cost was so much higher than Day’s estimate.

  4. Anne Anne

    My father was born at Touro New Orleans in 1939. When we were going through my grandmother’s papers after her death, we found the bill for his birth. $25.

  5. It’s part of the health care scam. What’s going on is that your insurance company won’t actually pay that amount. They’ll probably pay a much lower “negotiated” amount. Or conversely, if they do pay that amount, the amount charged to people who are uninsured is much higher. Remember, the function of the “health care” system is not to keep people healthy. It’s to extract maximum profits. There’s a fundamental disconnect between medical ethics (do no harm, heal the sick) and unfettered capitalism.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love capitalism. But it’s the wrong approach to health care, as a casual examination of the comprehensive government-run systems in Europe and Canada attests.

  6. The hard part comes down the road when you start getting these nickel and dime charges from the hospital — things we had done on Julian’s birth are now resurfacing as charges that this or that doctor did not get now. I’ve called in on most of them but always get someone who doesn’t know the specifics who says that this or that $20 or $40 charge wasn’t paid by the insurance company – end of story. I hate it. I could swear I paid something like that 3 months ago for a procedure down over 5 months ago. My suggestion, keep track of everything if you can, but it’s daunting.

  7. Matter, I agree with you 100%. I lived in Sweden for a year back in the 80’s, and seeing their system in action was very educational. How a nation treats birthing mothers in particular says a lot about “family values.”

  8. Brooks Brooks

    I work freelance in NYC and the cost of health insurance is killing me. It’s one of the main reasons I’m thinking of moving home to N.O. after 38 years away.

    Being in my 50s makes me more of a health risk than someone 35, I suppose. Still, I have no health problems that I’m aware of. And my health insurance premiums are $1300 a month…..and rising.

    “Socialized medicine” is a dirty phrase in this country. I wish someone could explain to me why.

  9. Thank goodness you don’t have our new Blue Cross coverage, or you would, most likely be paying most of that yourself. It’s too bad Michael Moore already made Sicko; I can imagine myself being one of the stars if something really expensive happens to me while we’re on this insurance.

  10. Corporations don’t want universal health care because they want to force people to enslave themselves within their companies to afford their healthcare.

  11. What are the legalities surrounding home births in Orleans Parish / Louisiana? I’ve heard that this area is pretty anti-midwifery.

  12. Serge A. Storms Serge A. Storms

    Get used to it. The costs of a kid only increase day by day. That’s why we should re-instate child labor. Paper routes won’t cover their room and board. They need union jobs to really help with their upkeep.

  13. peptide peptide

    hey brooks, take a look at freelancer’s union – sp. set up to help freelancers get insurance. from what i’ve been told, they don’t bar you for age or preexisting conditions. the plan i was looking at was under $300 a month and was pretty much the same that i had as a full time employee at my last job. – very cool organization set up to help the growing number of workers usually left out in our economy. recently featured on pbs:

    privatized health care is a sin in my book. i still have hope we’ll get to universal coverage, perhaps because the coming economic tsunami is going to make it so bad for so many, as in the great depression.

  14. Maitri, I’m not sure about the legalities, but the logistics are pretty grim. I’ve actually done quite a bit of research this time around, as I was interested in doing a home birth, and have had a heck of a time finding a mid-wife who’ll do it. AND there are no birthing centers within several hours of the GNO area.

  15. Brooks Brooks

    Peptide, many thanks for the heads-up, and I’ll definitely check out the Freelancer’s Union. At this point, if I can whittle my monthly premiums down to $600, I’ll be ecstatic.

    (P.S. I’ve got bad feelings about this economic downturn too.)

  16. I recently found the receipt from my birth. This was 1971, my dad was in the Air Force, and I was born on base. The total cost for the birth and six days of hospital stay was $10,50. Each day of hospitalization was 25 cents.

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