Royal Birth Spotlights US Childbirth Costs

Kate Middleton gave birth to the latest royal infant in high style in the private wing of her London hospital. Using FAIR Health data, a flurry of news stories estimated that the birth probably cost less than the average US delivery.

Money magazine and Town & Country both compared the estimated cost of the royal birth to typical costs in the United States. They used FAIR Health data to get a window into US costs. Money showed how childbirth prices vary from state to state. Town & Country looked at national average charges. (“Charges” are what providers bill patients who are uninsured or receiving services outside their health plan’s network.) The national average charge for a vaginal delivery is $12,290. The national average charge for a C-section is $16,907.

You Don’t Have to Be a Princess to Get a Handle on Childbirth Costs

How much does it cost to give birth in your area? The FAIR Health Medical Cost Lookup Tool can show you the typical price for both vaginal deliveries and C-sections. For C-sections, the costs are higher because they’re major surgery, requiring operating rooms, more personnel and longer hospital stays.

Start by choosing your insurance status, enter your provider location, and then choose “Episode of Care.” An episode of care is the whole bundle of services you receive for a complicated procedure, like childbirth.

You can then choose between “C-Section” and “Vaginal Delivery.” Your results will show the estimated out-of-network/uninsured price for the procedure in your area. This is what you may pay if your provider doesn’t take your health insurance, or if you don’t have insurance. The results will also show the in-network price. This is an estimate of how much the episode will cost if you have health insurance, and your provider takes your insurance.

For more on using the cost lookup tool, see Top Three Reasons for Getting a Healthcare Estimate in this issue. For more on in-network and out-of-network pricing, see our Insurance Basics article In-Network and Out-of-Network Care.