<p>1955 hospital bill reveals it cost less than $60 to give birth</p>

1955 hospital bill reveals it cost less than $60 to give birth

Hospital bill from 1955 sparks outrage over childbirth costs in the US today

Hospital bill is equivalent to $600 today

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 10 August 2021 16:56
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A 1955 hospital bill that revealed it cost less than $60 for a three-night stay to deliver a baby has shocked Americans who have become accustomed to being charged exorbitant amounts for childbirth.

Last month, a Reddit user who goes by the username @BinaryPeach uploaded a photo of the hospital bill to the platform, where they revealed that the invoice was from the December 1955 birth of their medical school professor in a Kansas hospital.

“My medical school professor showed me this bill from his birth in 1955 (in the United States),” the caption reads.

In the photo, the $59.95 bill, which one Reddit user estimated would be equivalent to $600 today, details the costs for services such as room and board and nursing service, which totalled $27, with the delivery room costing the new parents just $15.

A charge for “care of infant” was also low, with the service totalling just $6, while the price for “drugs, medicine” came out to $11.95.

The Reddit post, which has been upvoted more than 11,000 times, has since prompted a conversation about the rising costs of medical care in the US, with many sharing how the decades-old invoice vastly differs from medical bills today.

According to one user who gave birth vaginally six weeks ago with “no complications,” and whose hospital stay was “less than 48 hours,” they still received a bill for $14,500.

They then noted that, because they have an insurance plan that is “considered very comprehensive,” their out of pocket cost for the birth ended up being $890.

“However, this was just for me,” the new mother continued. “My newborn was also sent a bill, in his name, for the services rendered to him; $2,600. The out-of-pocket cost for him just being born was $605. He was/is perfectly healthy, needed no procedures, assistance, or medication, and we even skipped the circumcision.

“So for him to come out of my body, sleep in a bassinet for less than 48 hours, and be given a once-over by a pediatrician was $605.”

Another parent revealed that the bill for his son’s birth was $7,000 because, although his wife had hit her insurance deductible, the baby was considered a “different person”.

“My son, after insurance, cost me about $7,000. That’s because my wife hit her deductible, but HE is a different person, so he had a separate deductible and out-of-pocket max to meet,” he wrote.

Others compared the current-day costs of medicines given to women in labour, with one man writing: “Just had a baby in March - room/board for him alone was $1,780 for two nights. My wife was given a 500mg Tylenol for $79. And let’s not talk about the Labor & Delivery charge, or cost of anaesthesia for the epidural.”

The post also prompted people to share their own antiquated hospital invoices, with one Reddit user revealing that they found theirs while cleaning out their parents’ house and that it had cost their parents just $8.62 out-of-pocket after insurance covered $155.23 for their birth in 1966.

Overall, many took the opportunity to criticise the US healthcare system, which one user called “absolutely absurd”.

“That is absolutely absurd. I feel terrible for anyone that needs medical care over there. $0 for both my kids… but I’m in a developed country lol,” one person wrote, while another said: “A bill for birth… a bill… seriously? The US healthcare system is f***ed up.”

According to the American Journal of Managed Care, which cited data from a Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) report, the average cost of “childbirth admission for an individual with employer-sponsored insurance was $13,811” from 2016 to 2017, with the out-of-pocket spending ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 by state.

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