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Hidden costs

Couple’s hospital bill includes $39.35 charge for getting to hold their baby after the birth

October 5, 2016

A discussion about the opaque nature of hospital bills erupted online Tuesday, after a user on Reddit posted a receipt for the recent delivery of his wife’s baby in which he noticed they had been charged $39.35 for holding the baby after the Caesarean-section birth. While the user said he was amused rather than angry about the extra charges, the thread proceeded to explode with stories from other users who said that they had dealt with obscene charges after medical procedures — including births — with some users even claiming to have successfully negotiated a lower price after contesting the charges.

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A user claiming to be a labor and delivery nurse also chimed in, explaining that allowing a couple to hold a child directly after a c-section birth “requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby.” The nurse admitted however not knowing “that hospitals charged for it.”

The difficulty for consumers in determining the cost of medical procedures before they undergo them, wrote Vox’s Johnny Harris, may be leading “to an artificial inflation of prices, making consumers pay more for treatment that is of no better quality.” Despite making dozens of phone calls to different billing offices, Harris said he was unable to find anyone who would give him an estimate on how much an uncomplicated birth should actually cost.

Watch Harris’ investigative report below.

Read the full story at Vox.


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