Study: U.S. Could Save $5B Through Fewer C-Sections
Childbirth Connection, Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform released the report, which used data from Truven Health Analytics. Currently, 4 million babies in the U.S., or 33 percent of all newborns, are delivered by C-section instead of vaginal birth. The report found if that percentage dropped to 15 percent, as the World Health Organization recommends, national maternity care costs would decline by roughly $5 billion.
"Maternity care is yet another example of how our current healthcare payment systems can actually penalize healthcare providers for delivering higher-value care," said Suzanne Delbanco, executive director of CPR, in a news release. "We need to pay physicians and hospitals in ways that reward them for eliminating early elective deliveries, reducing unnecessary C-sections and preventing complications of childbirth."
Here are other key findings from the report:
• Overall, average C-sections ($27,866) cost 50 percent more than natural deliveries ($18,329).
• The average total charges for women and newborns with employer-provided commercial health insurance and who went through vaginal birth were $32,093. For C-sections, that total rose to $51,125.
• In Medicaid, average total maternal and newborn care charges for vaginal births and C-sections were $29,800 and $50,373, respectively.
• Roughly 59 percent of total maternal and newborn care costs for natural deliveries are used to pay for hospital and other facility fees. Sixty-six percent of costs for C-sections are for hospital facility fees.
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