Most developed countries provide deeply subsidized, flat-fee maternity care to give each newborn the healthiest start possible, but the cost of prenatal care and delivery in the U.S. is the highest in the world — and billed to the patient item by item, leaving some women to choose during labor whether to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on an epidural.
"British royal born in fanciest ward: $15,000. Average US birth: billed $30,000; paid $18,000. What's wrong here?" Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times tweeted this week.
The historic Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge delivered her son on Monday, has a birthing pool, satellite TV, Internet access, a catering staff and wine list, and a routine maternity stay costs around $15,000. As Rosenthal pointed out, and reported in a stunning article last month, that money wouldn't go far for an expectant mother in the U.S.
"The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866," she wrote, citing a recent Truven Health Analytics report.
Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.