Consumer-Driven Health Plans Could Cost Pregnant Women

High out-of-pocket expenses especially when there are complications

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who have consumer-driven health plans could face high out-of-pocket expenses, particularly if there are complications of their pregnancy, according to a report published June 12 by the Kaiser Family Foundation. A March of Dimes study released at the same time suggests that the 2004 cost of having a baby was $8,000.

In the Kaiser Family Foundation report, researchers analyzed the out-of-pocket costs for various pregnancy scenarios. In the best-case scenario, the out-of-pocket costs for women with consumer-driven health plans ranged from $3,000 to $7,000. These costs may not be met by funds available from a patient's health savings account. "On average, employers contribute approximately $1,600, which falls short of maternity care cost liability under most of the plans analyzed," the study states.

Unlike other preventive services, such as mammography, prenatal care is usually subject to the deductible in consumer-driven health plans, the report found. "High cost sharing could pose a disincentive for some women to obtain prenatal care services," the report states.

In the March of Dimes report, which was prepared by Thomson Healthcare, private health plans paid an average of $7,205 for a vaginal delivery in 2004 with families paying $463 in out-of-pocket expenses. For Caesarean sections, private insurance plans paid $10,324 and families paid $523.

More Information - Kaiser Family Foundation
More Information - March of Dimes

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