Primary Listings

Average Cost of a Pediatric Hospital Stay

The average cost of a pediatric hospital stay in 2016 was about $7,800. This was for ages 0 to 20 years old. Newborn births averaged $5,000. A mental illness stay was about $5,900 and a teen mother’s stay was $4,600. A complicated birth averaged $7,800, but major newborn problems could easily run the cost to $70,000. These numbers are estimated costs; charges would be higher. The report does not disclose the cost-to-charge ratios. Add about 13% medical inflation to estimate 2021 costs. Other types of hospitalizations are also listed. Statistical Brief #250 Costs of Pediatric Hospital Stays, 2016, was published by AHRQ’s HCUP (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project), August 2019.

Childbirth – Average Hospital C-Section and Vaginal Delivery Cost, Complications

Find average childbirth costs and complications in this report. Estimated average cost for a C-Section hospital delivery and maternity stay in 2011 with private insurance was $5,900 (which would be about $7,700 in 2021 dollars adding medical inflation). A vaginal delivery with private insurance averaged $3,400 in 2011 (about $4,500 in 2021 dollars). Prices (charges) would be higher (perhaps 4 times higher); the report does not disclose the “cost to charge ratios” it used. The C-section rate was over 33% of all births, and about 1/3 of the C-sections occurred in low-risk deliveries. Numbers exclude physician fees, prenatal care, and newborn costs. Most women giving birth – more than 3 out of 4 – had at least one complicating condition, such as perineal laceration, anemia, previous cesarean section, abnormality in fetal heart rate or rhythm; post term pregnancy or preeclampsia. Complicating conditions for vaginal births were more common among privately insured than Medicaid-covered deliveries, regardless of the mother’s age. AHRQ Statistical Brief #173 uses 2011 HCUP data, published May 2014.

Childbirth – Average Total Cost for Having a Baby (AHRQ MEPS pdf)

Childbirth expenses. The average total cost of having a baby was about $12,000 in 2009 if you were privately insured and had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Adjusting for medical inflation (only), the total childbirth cost would be about $16,741 in 2021 dollars. The estimate includes actual payments (expenditures, not charges) for all prenatal office visits, hospital childbirth (inpatient maternity and newborn delivery), prescription medications and other services for an uncomplicated pregnancy. In 2009, privately insured patients paid just under 10% out of pocket. Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality uses Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data for 2006 to 2009 patients; Research Findings #32 published June 2012. No update available as of September 2021.

Other Helpful Listings

Scheduled C-Sections Before 39 Weeks Not Advised, Costly

Scheduled C-Sections that are elective (by choice for convenience or other reasons) before the baby is in his/her 39th week increase risks, and may land the premature infant in the neonatal intensive care unit. Full term is considered 39-40 weeks, and according to some reports NICU stays can add $20,000 to the bill. See Cesarean Delivery on Maternal Request, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), January 2019.

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