Moniz in The Atlantic: The High Cost of Having a Baby in America

January 7, 2020 | The Atlantic

“This is the kind of money that causes people to go into debt.”

CHRT Health Policy Fellow Dr. Michelle Moniz

Research by Michelle Moniz, a 2018 CHRT Health Policy Fellow, is cited in “The High Cost of Having a Baby in America” by Olga Khazan for The Atlantic.

The article discusses the high cost of having a baby in the United States and the various factors contributing to it. It highlights the steep prices of prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care, as well as the additional expenses of childbirth-related complications and premature births. 

Vaginal deliveries, the researchers found, cost women an average of about $4,314 out of pocket in 2015, up from $2,910 in 2008. The out-of-pocket cost of a cesarean birth, meanwhile went up from $3,364 to $5,161 writes Khazan, citing newly published research by Moniz, Mark Fendrick, and others.

The research by Moniz, Mark Fendrick, and others, discusses the increase in out-of-pocket spending for maternity care in the US from 2008 to 2015, despite the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proportion of women with any out-of-pocket spending increased during this period. The rise in out-of-pocket spending may lead to delays in or a lack of maternity care, which could result in health complications for both mothers and babies. 

“The High Cost of Having a Baby in America” by Olga Khazan for The Atlantic  also examines the role of insurance coverage, with many women facing high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. The author emphasizes the need for policy interventions to address the issue and improve access to affordable maternity care for all women.

“I don’t have many patients who have that kind of cash just lying around,” says Michelle Moniz, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Michigan’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital and the lead author of the study. “I sometimes see patients struggling to afford their health care and sometimes choosing not to obtain health care because they can’t afford it.”