Expectant Dad Labors To Get Childbirth Costs In Advance From Hospital, Delivers Proof Of Broken System

MedicineMotherhood 2 Comments

“Giving birth costs a lot. Hospitals won’t tell you how much.”

Childbirth is the #1 reason people go to the hospital in the United States. In fact, nearly 4 million women will go to the hospital to give birth this year, and VOX reporter Johnny Harris’s wife Isabel was one of them. So he decided to see if there was any way to discover how much they would be paying for their baby’s birth in advance of the big day. He says, “What happens next is at once depressing and horrifying, showing how broken and expensive the American health care system is.”

This video captures every frustrating moment of his epic attempt.

  • environmental_lady

    Maybe go with a midwife next time. Hospitals are notorious for overcharging.

  • They Just Won’t Tell You

    I went through this 13 years ago when I was due to deliver January 2 and my employer’s insurance options for January 1 onwards were still up in the air in early December. No contract signed, and no clear choice on where we’d end up. Eight months pregnant, I spent a VERY frustrating two hours calling the local hospitals to ask them how much an average childbirth with no complications would cost, so I could pick an insurance plan. The university hospital transferred me from one office to the next, at least six times, and ended up sending my call to their affiliate hospital where they don’t even deliver babies, to a clerk who couldn’t imagine why I was asking them. Another local chain of hospitals, well regarded, also sent me in circles. They simply couldn’t tell me what it might cost. I ended up in tears and my husband was ready to go yell at my HR office for not have insurance renewed yet. The only one who had an answer was our local co-op HMO, where I had less than a month left of health insurance. They gave me the cost estimate on the first transfer of my call. Thank goodness my employer renewed their contract with the co-op shortly afterwards, and my son was born the next month safely, and covered by insurance.