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

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.