Jun 27, 2023 - Health

The price tag for giving birth in California

Median cost allowed for giving birth
Data: FAIR Health; Note: Costs include the delivery itself, anesthesia, fetal nonstress tests, ultrasounds, laboratory work and breast pump; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Having a baby isn't cheap anywhere, but California ranks among some of the pricier states to give birth, according to new data provided first to Axios from FAIR Health.

Why it matters: FAIR Health's new Cost of Giving Birth Tracker — which uses data from more than 41 billion private health care claim records — offers a glimpse at how much variability there is in the cost of one of the most common health care services.

By the numbers: California's median allowed in-network cost for vaginal deliveries is $16,577.28 and $20,616.80 for C-sections. That's compared to the national median of $12,968.44 for vaginal deliveries and $15,555.61 for C-sections.

  • For those who are uninsured or out-of-network, the median for vaginal deliveries in the Golden State jumps to $35,710.45 and $49,078.16 for C-sections.

Between the lines: In 2021, San Francisco began providing $1,000 monthly payments for 12 months to 150 pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women with the goal of reducing racial birth disparities, according to San Francisco's health department.

  • Last December, the basic income program received $5 million in state funding to serve additional pregnant women in Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Riverside counties, in addition to San Francisco.

Zoom out: Alaska has the highest median allowed in-network amount for vaginal deliveries, $21,525.77, followed by New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

  • Alaska also had the highest median allowed amount for C-sections, $25,518.63.

What's next: FAIR Health has a handy tool that lets you put in your zip code to see your estimated costs for childbirth, as well as other medical treatments and procedures.

Go deeper: Here are the states where it's costliest to give birth


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