An interesting study reported in KaiserNetwork.org found that consumer-driven health plans generally require families to pay higher out-of-pocket costs for maternity care than traditional insurance plans. The study compared 12 consumer-driven health plans with one traditional, more comprehensive plan and established three scenarios across the health plans: an uncomplicated pregnancy with a vaginal delivery; an uncomplicated pregnancy with a caesarean section delivery; and a complicated pregnancy with gestational diabetes, preterm labor and a c-section delivery.
A second study released on Tuesday also produced interesting findings. This study examined childbirth costs for women insured through large-employer health plans and examined health claims from more than 10 million employees, spouses and dependents. It combined the costs of prenatal care, labor and delivery in addition to postpartum care provided during the three months after delivery, finding that the average cost of having an infant with a private health plan in 2004 was more than $8,000. The report also found that employer-based health care plans covered about 95% of maternity care. The report found that average expenditures for maternity care were $7,737 for vaginal delivery and $10,958 for c-section delivery, and that childbirth expenses are most expensive in the northeast part of the country and lowest in the South.