Hospital Charges


How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby in California?


Did this baby’s hospital charge $3,300 or $33,000 for delivery — or somewhere in between? (Shingo/Flickr)

The most common reason for hospitalization in the United States is childbirth. A new study published Thursday adds to the depth of research on cost variation in the American medical system.

In the study, researchers at U.C. San Francisco looked at 110,000 uncomplicated births across California and found that hospital charges for a vaginal delivery ranged from $3,296 to $37,227 and for a caesarian section the range was $8,312 to $70,908.

For health policy researchers, this is not a big surprise, said lead author Dr. Renee Hsia, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCSF, but “most people that aren’t familiar with health care variation would be surprised and distressed.” Continue reading