How Much Does it Cost to Have a Baby?
Many people wonder what exact costs are involved in having a baby. The angle this article will take to answer the question will be the financial cost of the actual delivery. From a financial perspective this is the real starting point since all the aftercare expenses will change over time due to inflation, changes in technology, and other factors such as the cost of education. When you stop to think about it, if you start off in the red just to deliver the baby it is a definite wakeup call for you to get your financial house in order very soon.
There are three major things that will directly impact the cost of delivering your baby:
- Whether or not you have health insurance
- What state you live in
- Whether your baby will be delivered with a C-section or not
Before we get into specifics, there are two facts to remember that will help you get a better idea of the costs you can expect. The first is that on average you will spend $10,800 dollars to have the baby. Costs vary by region, so the data supplied later will give you a better sense of what you can expect based on your location. The second is that according to 2016 data there were 2,684,803 vaginal births and 1,258,581 C-sections. It is worth mentioning here that the C-section have been performed more often in recent years, with analysts saying this is a trend that will continue to increase.
Looking at number 1, the current law of the land is that every person is required to have some type of health coverage based on the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. However, it is within the realm of possibility that you can begin the year without health coverage and delivery a baby before the year is out. If you are one of the few in this situation, you will not only have to consider the cost of delivery but all of the prenatal care costs associated with preparing your baby to be delivered healthy.
When it comes to which state you live in, you cannot presume that your neighboring states will have similar costs. The data shows that in most cases the costs are singularly specific to your state. Now expecting Alaska to have the highest cost of delivery is not surprising (they do) or Alabama to have the lowest cost is a bit of a surprise (but they do). But Alabama’s neighboring state Mississippi has a cost of delivery $2,500 higher, a statistic that should surprise you.
The third factor, natural delivery or C-section, increases the delivery cost by roughly a factor of 2. The trend in C-sections from a medical perspective will mostly involve either the heath of the baby or the health of the mother. Discussions on the reasons for this trend is left for another article but regarding the costs it is evident that insurance companies are spending considerably more to cover the hospital costs of delivering a baby.
According to Business Insider this is the data for the lowest and highest cost of delivery in the entire United States;
The lowest is Alabama, where a person with insurance can expect to pay $4884.44 for a natural delivery and $7,404.07 for a C-section. If you don’t have insurance the tab rises to $9,013.88 for a natural birth and $12,593.60 for a C-section.
On the high end is Alaska, where an uninsured mother-to-be will pay $28,491.95 for a C-section and $19,775.79 for a natural delivery. Being insured will save you in the range of $9,000 and $14,000, with the C-section costing $14,927.76 and a natural delivery coming in at $10,681.28.
The lesson is obvious: if you are going to deliver a baby in a hospital it is essential to have some type of health insurance plan that covers prenatal and delivery costs. Going into debt from Day 1 cannot be a good idea, either for the family’s financial future or for the long term health of the baby. If you are pregnant and are uninsured, take the time now to check out every possible available option to cover your delivery costs. If you are forced into a corner and will have to pay for the delivery costs out of pocket, start saving today. It is not the time to worry about whether you can save up to pay for the entire cost. Every dollar you can pay when the baby is born is one less dollar you have to make after the baby is born.