Feb 20, 2019

The unexpected cost of a failed pregnancy

A pregnant woman getting an ultrasound. Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

We know childbirth is wildly expensive in the U.S. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a very depressing related story: The cost of a failed pregnancy can also be unexpectedly large, leaving women or couples to sort through and challenge medical bills on top of an enormous emotional loss.

Details: One woman profiled by the Inquirer, Jodi Laughlin, had to have an emergency C-section. Her baby then lived only 32 minutes, due to a buildup of fluid in her body.

  • Laughlin’s insurer, Cigna, initially denied coverage for her C-section and for 2 procedures to drain the baby’s excess fluids. Those procedures were instead billed at $16,500 and $26,450. Cigna said none of those 3 procedures were medically necessary.
  • The family was eventually able to negotiate that down to $4,000. Laughlin’s husband said he initially hid the bills from his wife, given how much she was already going through.
  • Genetic testing revealed that the same outcome was likely if the Laughlins conceived again, so they turned to fertility treatments — at an out-of-pocket cost of $19,000.

Go deeper: People around the world are waiting longer to have kids

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil's Ministry of Health reported Sunday 15,813 new coronavirus cases and 653 more deaths within 24 hours. 362,211 have tested positive for the virus, which has killed 22,666 in the country.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,401,701 — Total deaths: 345,060 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,643,238 — Total deaths: 97,720 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

President Trump doubled down on his push to reopen schools, tweeting late Sunday: "Schools in our country should be opened ASAP."

Zoom in: Trump pushed back on NIAD Director Anthony Fauci cautioning against the move earlier this month, calling his concerns "not an acceptable answer."