What does it cost to have a baby in the USA? What you need to know about OBGYN medical billing

At some point, everyone hoping to become a parent will be concerned about the cost of having a child. Find out how much your OBGYN medical bill may be.

Having a baby can be pretty expensive in the US, with statistics showing that it can cost you around $18,000 on average.  This figure includes the cost of managing pregnancy as long as the mother doesn’t have a complicated pregnancy. 

Health insurance covers most expenses, with the patient only paying around $2,000. However, these figures can change based on location and type of delivery. But the most significant factor is OBGYN charges because service providers will charge differently.

Understanding OBGYN 

OBGYN is an acronym for two medical subspecialties, obstetrics and gynecology, an area of medicine dealing with women’s reproductive health. Obstetrics deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. Conversely, gynecology deals with female reproductive organs, including the vagina, ovaries, uterus and breast. 

That said, an OBGYN specialist is trained in both subspecialties. Like any other service you receive at the hospital, you will receive a bill for OBGYN services which, like other bills, can seem like a bunch of random numbers and codes. But there are some critical things about it you may need to know, which include:

What the different OBGYN medical billing codes mean

As mentioned earlier, the codes used in OBGYN billing can be complex for the layperson and the entity doing the billing. You may not know what every code means, but it can help to know a few by looking up OBGYN billing guidelines used by billing companies. 

Even so, it will not be easy to understand everything, so if you have questions about your bill, it would be a good idea to ask the institution for clarification. 

The codes you will likely see on your bill include Diagnostic OBGYN 70000 – 76499,  Diagnostic Ultrasound 76500 – 76999,  Radiologic Guidance 77001 – 77032,  Breast, Mammography 77051 – 77059,  and Radiation Oncology 77261 – 77999 among others. 

Each code signifies a different procedure or service rendered in your hospital visit. To know the exact procedure, you could ask the hospital or run a web search for the code.

Billing will vary with provider and state

While the billing codes are standard for most services and procedures offered at a hospital, the rates will vary with the hospital of choice, so you can expect to pay more if you go to a high-end hospital. 

Billing can also vary with state. So if you’ve moved since the last time you had a child, you may be surprised at the difference in pricing for OBGYN services.  Some of the most expensive states are Massachusetts, California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Hawaii, Vermont and Rhode Island. 

Even in the most expensive states, pricing will differ between service providers. So choose wisely while not compromising the quality of care offered at the facility.

Preparing for a baby

Given the high cost of having a baby, it is essential to prepare beforehand. For example, you want to ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage and that it is active. The Affordable Care Act requires all employer-sponsored insurance plans and private insurance covers to cover maternal care and childbirth expenses.

Secondly, you want to ensure that you have savings to cover unexpected expenses. As mentioned earlier, you must pay at least $2,000 out of pocket. This figure can change depending on your coverage, so you may need to have some money set aside to cover this cost. 

Some states have laws requiring hospitals to have financial assistance policies, for example providing free or discounted rates for patients under a certain income threshold. So you may want to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state concerning the same as outlined under medical debtors protection laws

Other options for childbirth

The safest place to deliver a child is always the hospital. But you can try alternatives if you want to cut costs or do not want the hospital option. 

However, alternatives are only an option for mothers that do not have a history of complications and that have had a smooth pregnancy. Still, it is important to have a backup plan should complications arise during the birthing process.

Common alternatives to hospitals for childbirth include; birth centers and midwife-assisted home births.