Pregnancy health care costs

A study in Australia found that one in three pregnant women is obese, and that obese pregnant women drive up health care costs.
A new study in Australia revealed that obese pregnant women who choose to undergo cesarean section (C-section) contribute to increasing health care costs in hospitals as management acquires more equipment such as trolleys in order to move them around more easily for surgery. Researchers said that one in every three pregnant women undergoing C-section is obese and requires more doses of anesthesia. The study reports that the average anesthesia time for obese pregnant women going through C-section increased up to 18 minutes. In a study called MUM SIZE conducted by the University of Melbourne, researchers examined 1500 pregnant women undergoing C-section and how factors such as size and time affect the delivery.
Of the respondents, 28 percent or almost one-third of the group included obese and very obese pregnant women. Researchers found that the average length of time under the care of anesthetists for a pregnant woman of normal weight undergoing a C-section is about 72 minutes.

She added that trained medical professionals can advise obese pregnant women about steps they need to take to lower risks such as diabetes and sleep apnea by possible means of weight reduction, quitting smoking and proper exercise. The percentage of prenatal and maternity costs that will be covered depends on your insurance carrier and which plan you have, but typically, employee plans cover between 25 percent and 90 percent of costs. Find out the deductible, copay and out-of-pocket maximums to estimate what your costs will be.
It facilitates federally funded health centers that provide basic medical care, including prenatal care on a sliding scale fee basis. This program offers continuation of health coverage to individuals and families who lose their health benefits because of job loss or other qualifying circumstances. For help finding private and government health insurance options, use the Families USA program locator. Gynecologists say that C-section is much safer for obese pregnant women than a normal childbirth.

For obese pregnant women with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 45, the increase in time was 10 percent, while for the very obese pregnant women with a BMI of 45 and over, the increase in time was 25 percent. The costs will range from about $3,000 to $4,000, which is about half of what a hospital birth would cost. Look for a hospital that offers good rates for delivery and postnatal care (yes, you can ask), and see if it's considered in-network for your plan. For a home birth, usually all costs are 100 percent out of pocket, but they're usually much less costly.

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