If your first thought upon learning you were going to be a father was, “How much is this about to cost me?”, then congratulations. You’re ready. However, you should be spending this time celebrating and preparing with your wife, and since you were promised no math, here are a few quick summaries of the costs you can expect.
First, the cost of pregnancy, aside from the dignity lost during a 2:00 a.m. run to 7-11 for peanut butter and pickles. Fatherly’s pseudo-scientific breakdown categorizes costs into “Health” (doctor visits, vitamins, birth classes), “Home” (general improvements, nursery), “Stuff” (gear, clothing, supplies), “Maternity” (clothes, doula, supplies, prenatal yoga — totally a thing), and “Other” (babymoon, eating for 2). Tallying all of those items across low, average, and high-end tiers (with help from a whole gang of sources), your projected pregnancy spend is somewhere in the range of $3,000-$16,000.
And that’s before they’re actually born.
Thanks to the baby-delivery industrial complex, your hospital bill for three days could rocket past $36,000, so hopefully you have insurance (or are really, really rich). Otherwise you can hope your $42,000 birthing bill goes viral and you cash in on that sweet internet money, which to date has happened exactly zero times.
If you’re hoping for a neatly itemized explanation of what you’ll pay and why, keep hoping. Hospitals often confuse the process by issuing bills full of indecipherable shorthand and codes for procedures and equipment you’d never recognize. Even if you’re fairly well versed in your current policy, it gets tricky because your bundle of joy is considered a second patient upon arrival, causing your deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums to suddenly double.
The advice of one financial reporter, who has a very detailed explanation of what she wound up paying, is limited but helpful: Enjoy your kid for a few weeks before you try to figure out the bills. If you’d rather ignore limited but helpful advice, here are some approximate charges you might encounter:
- Obstetric Room Charge: $7,000. The room.
- Room And Bed — Ob: $10,000. The room … and the bed.
- Nursery — Newborn: $7,000. The room and the bed for the kid.
- Tray, Anes Epidural: $500. The tray of sterile equipment used to administer an epidural anesthetic injection.
- Anes-Cat 1-Basic Outlying Area: $2,000. Additional epidural-related resources not included in said tray.
- Anesthesiologist’s Charge: $1,500. For giving the epidural. Apparently not included in either of the other 2 costs of said epidural.
- Recovery: $2,000. The cost for your wife to rest for 90 minutes post-delivery while a nurse cleans her up and checks her vitals.
That’s just a small sampling, but it gives you an idea of how things you might not have considered can carry crazy costs, and add up quick.
There is one more financial resource you should be aware of that you probably didn’t expect to think about until the birth of your kid’s kids: Medicaid. Roughly 40 percent of all births in the US are financed by Medicaid, which covers prenatal care through pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and perinatal care for 60 days postpartum. If you’re eligible, the state may cover all of the above or limit coverage to specific services. Start by contacting your local Medicaid office to see if it’s an option for you, because like deciphering your hospital bill, eligibility is complicated.