Medical expenditures associated with an uncomplicated pregnancy and hospital birth averaged about $7,600 in 2004, according to a new report released by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CQ HealthBeat reports. For the report, the agency gathered data from 2001 to 2004 from three panels of the Household Component of the Medical Expenditures Survey. The report defined medical expenditures as payments for hospital visits, prenatal office visits, prescription medicines and other services.
The report found that for women with private insurance, the average delivery cost was $6,520 and the average cost for prenatal care was $1,962, compared with $4,577 and $2,142, respectively, for women enrolled in Medicaid, the Washington Times reports. Private health insurers covered 87% of the expenses of insured women, who paid 8% of the remaining costs out of pocket and 5% from "other sources," the report said. Medicaid paid 92% of expenses for beneficiaries, who paid less than 1% out of pocket and 8% from other sources. According to the Times, costs associated with childbirth have increased significantly during the past 10 years. A 1997 analysis published in the Journal of Midwifery found that the average cost for a hospital birth was $5,464. Figures published in U.S. Health Care for Children indicated that the average cost for a hospital birth was $3,983 in 1987.