How Much Should We Budget for a Hospital Birth?

Updated on August 23, 2011
K.M. asks from Saint Paul, MN
17 answers

We are budgeting for 2011 and our FSA contributions which will include the birth of our baby. If anyone is willing to share, I'm looking for the basic cost of a vaginal delivery...especially if you've delivered at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea. That will help us to have an idea of how much more to withdraw for our FSA. Thanks in advance!

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answers from Saginaw on

I didn't have to pay for my births, but my Explanation of Benefits stated my oldest daughters vaginal birth cost around 6-7,000 (This included hospital and OB office costs) that was without any complications. My youngest daughter had to have blood tests, ultrasound and an MRI, then it was more like 10-12,000.

I'm in another state, but hope that helps.

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answers from Minneapolis on

When we found out about our #3, I had to do an apples to appanges (apple oranges) comparison between the hospital (my husband choice) we delivered our first 2 at vs a free standing birth center (my choice). Now, granted, the hospital is 'newer', and their maternity center is way more progressive than others in our area (Minneapolis/ St. Paul) but I felt like I still had to fight for things that should have been natural with both #1 and 2. I also felt like I wasn't informed or given enough information through their system with #1, resulting in an unwanted/ unwarrented induction that as retold to me by my husband "less than 30 minutes away from a c-section" because of things that were caused by the induction in the first place!

Anyway - the free standing birth center - $5500 - flat. From conception to 6 weeks postpartum, including baby. Mine ran a few standard labs, which I had to cover, but didn't add up to much. And, if I had birthed at home, their fee would have only been $4000. The hospital - just the facility fee: the room, the floor nurses, food - for a standard vaginal delivery and 48 hour stay - around $7k. The global fee for midwifery care: around $4k. Since our ped. group doesn't cover that hospital, we would have to use one of their on call peds - another $750 for the after birth baby care (covered by our mw for #3). There were a few other fees that would have brought a typical vaginal delivery without insurance up to between $12-13K. And both our #1 and 2 had meconium, so they called in a NICU nurse, which turned out to be unnecessary, but we got charged for that too.

I don't know if this is your first, 2nd or 3rd, and it's a bit off topic, or how much you want a doctors involvement, but there is a book from Heni Goer, I can't think of the name right now. But it covers the pros and cons of many labs, and things that western med dr's see as routine, but can play a part in 'needing a c-section' when those things could have been avoided in the first place. Birthing from Within is also a good book, I highly recommend it. Good luck!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Assuming that you have health insurance, that is where I would start. Call the benefits dept and ask what they cover and what portion is yours. Then you can follow up with the hospital/anesthesiologist/hospital pediatrician (the baby is it's own patient once it is delivered)/and your OB/GYN.

When our kids were born (10 years ago or so) in a small town rural hospital with NO bells/whistles (no anesthesia/no drugs/no complications) but an excellent private maternity suite :) ... the bill would have been around $7,000. But we had excellent insurance coverage, and we paid $0. All maternity was covered 100% with no deductible.

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answers from Sacramento on

Definitely call the hospital as well as your insurance company to get accurate numbers. When my first child was born, I had an uneventful delivery. The only "bells and whistles" that I had was an epidural. Therefore, I was blown away when the bill arrived. It was over $20K!! (This was at a private hospital in San Francisco.) But then the insurance company got hold of it, and magically reduced the cost they paid to the hospital to $2500 or something. My co-pay ended up at $250, I think. I was surprised to find out that you do get separate bills from the hospital, the anesthesiologist (if you have one), and the OB/GYN. The anesthesiologist's bill was $3K or so, of which we paid a co-pay of $100 or so, and then the OB/GYN's bill was $2500, which included all the prenatal visits plus the follow-up care. Since I had been paying co-pays on each doctor visit throughout my pregnancy, we did not end up owing anything extra after the baby was born. So out of pocket I think we paid around $500 for everything.

I had much the same results with my second child - but again, definitely call the hospital and your insurance company to double check their rates and what will be covered.

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answers from Seattle on

In our area paying out of pocket for an uneventful vaginal birth with no complications and 24 hour (or less) stay = apx 10k.

A c-section jumps that into 10's of thousands (typically 20-40k)

Any stay in the NICU jumps is by a couple HUNDRED thousand for each week. (Most NICU babies are million dollar babies).

If you're NOT paying out of pocket, but just looking at copays: call up your insurance company and get the "max" numbers from them. AKA deductibles, percentages, & caps.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't live in AZ, but we lost our insurance right before my pregnancy. We ended up picking up more, but we thought we'd have to pay out of pocket. For the OB appointments and everything (minus specialist visits, if needed), it was 3,500. For the hospital birth, it would have been 7,000 (or more), for a vaginal birth C-section was more. You should be able to ask your OB her costs and maybe contact the hospital for a base cost, from them.


answers from Williamsport on

It varies hugely depending in location. You should find out from the actual hospital. We chose a hospital in rural PA where we knew the cost of the out of pocket maternity package offered. It was about $5000 for everything which was a FRACTION of what it would have been in NY or LA where we lived before. Contact the hospital and your family doctor-they usually bill separately.



answers from Dallas on

If you are able to save up for the whole thing and pay cash- make sure you ask for a discount! A lot of hospitols will work with you and make you a deal if you are paying cash and especailly if you are able to pay the whole bill at once. I know of one guy who was given 50% discount for being able to pay the whole thing (instead of having payments)- you might not get anything that big- but it doesn't hurt to ask!



answers from Kansas City on

It depends on a variety of things.Each hospital and Doctor is different and there is a separate bill for the Doctor and anesthesiologist (if you have one.) It also depends on your insurance coverage and plan and if you have copays and/or deductibles.I had a c-section in 2003 and paid $2,000 my portion.Then I had another c-section in 2005 and only paid a $200 copay and not a penny more!They were done at different hospitals and through different insurance company's.My SIL had a baby 2 years ago and they had to pay a $500 deductible and then they got a bill on top of that!I would start by calling your insurance to find out what your copay is for the birth/hospital stay and if you have a deductible to meet.


answers from Washington DC on


I'm not from AZ - but I believe the maximum for an FSA is $5,000 per year per couple.

If you have money in your account from 2010 - most FSA's require the money be withdrawn prior to 31 April 2011. The money for 2011 won't be readily available at once - at least that's the way ours works - if you claim the $5000 at the beginning of the year - you are to receive payments throughout the year from the fund - basically your contributions will be refunded to you...

In 2000 our son was born here in Reston, VA - he was a NICU baby so his birth wasn't expensive - it was his after-care that was expensive - if I remember correctly $75K (premmie with jaundice 5 days in the NICU). My second son was another NICU baby (8 days, breathing machines, Xrays, and medications) had more complications so his was almost $150K.

You can talk to the hospital and get costs from them. If you don't have health insurance you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with them to coordinate with your FSA.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have not had a baby in 6 years. This question may sound silly. Does insurance not cover births anymore? I don't remember having to pay anything to have my four. I paid my 25.00 copay to OB on visit one and that was it. I am pretty sure.



answers from Phoenix on

I delivered my first son at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea in Nov of 2007, had a c-section, and the total bill for my hospital stay was about $22,000. That was just for me, not my son, the OB, etc. I had my second son there two months ago, successful VBAC (woohoo!!) with NO drugs other than a small amount of pitocin at the very beginning. My bill was about $8000. My son had to go to the NICU for a couple of hours due to inhaled meconium (he was fine), and his bill was around $4700. You may want to budget for a c-section, if you can, just in case.
I agree with Missy that the hospital is very nice, particularly post-partum, BUT I would not recommend them for a VBAC...they rarely do them, and only 1 nurse supported my choice and effort to have a natural, vaginal delivery with a previous c-section. Everyone else was pushing the interventions, particularly the epidural. Apparently the nurses were making bets at the nurses' station that I wouldn't make it.



answers from Anchorage on

Call the hospital, they should be able to tell you.



answers from Tucson on

Well, what I would do is contact your insurance company to find out how much they will cover of the birth. Then contact the Hospital or birthing center you will deliver at and find out what they charge. Ask about anything like epidural cost if you want one or the shot they put in your I.V. to take the edge off. Stuff like that will be added extra. Remember that no birth is exactly the same so it will be a range they may give you most likely.

D. P.



answers from Phoenix on

When I found myself pregnant without maturnity insurance I was very worried about the cost. My OB told me exactly how much her fee was and a very close estimate of the hospital costs. I suggest you call your OB. Her office staff can give you all the info you need. Good Luck!!!



answers from Phoenix on

I delivered at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea in April 2009. I had a vaginal birth, an epidural and pitocin, was in the hospital from Saturday early morning until Monday afternoon and neither of us had any complications during delivery or afterwards. The only medication I needed after delivery was Motrin and we nursed, so no formula provided. My hospital bill was around $10,000 and my daughter's was around $7,000. That was just from the hospital alone.
SHC is fantastic about setting up payment plans also, no matter what your final bill after insurance amounts to. We ended up owning $1500 total to the hospital after insurance, so I called them up the day I got my first bill and worked out a very comfortable payment plan with them that had us paid off by our daughter's first birthday.
On a side note, I absolutely LOVE this hospital and am looking forward to delivering my son there in April 2011.
Congratulations and good luck!



answers from Phoenix on

I have the same did it end up going? Did you deliver at Shea and what was your bill? I am under the same circumstances! Thanks!

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