There are plenty of horror stories about the cost of the U.S. healthcare system, especially when it comes to childbirth. Stella Apo Osae-Twum and her husband told the Guardian that when they had premature triplets, their hospital charged them $877,000. Even though their insurance covered most of that, they were still left with a bill for $51,000. Estimates of the average cost of childbirth in the U.S. vary greatly with advocacy group Childbirth Connection claiming hospitals charge just over $32,000 for a standard delivery and more than $51,000 for a c-section. Insurance providers usually cover a significant amount of the cost but always and many families are left with hefty bills.
The International Federation of Health Plans carried out its own investigation of hcildbirth costs and although its total for the U.S. is far lower, it is still considerably higher than all other developed countries. The following infographic provides an overview of the findings, showing that a standard delivery in the U.S. cost an average of $11,200 in 2017 with a c-section averaging $15,000. By comparison, a standard delivery in the Netherlands only averages $3,600 with a c-section working out at $5,000 and they are typically completely covered by insurance providers.
As well as having to cope with bills that can run to thousands of dollars, Americans live in one of the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth with around 700 mothers dying annually while infant mortality is also higher than in other developed countries. Even when things go well and the bill is low, mothers and fathers are not covered by a national paid leave policy, though several states have taken steps to address that. The harsh reality today is that a quarter of American women return to work just two weeks after giving birth.