Which 30 major US cities are most expensive for childbirth?

The cost of having a baby in the U.S. varies wildly, even within the same city. A recent analysis from Castlight Health shows the cost of receiving a Cesarean section in San Francisco varies five-fold, and the cost of a routine vaginal delivery in Los Angeles varies seven-fold.

City-by-city price differentials are also staggering. C-sections are performed in Sacramento, Calif., to the tune of $27,067 — which is four times as expensive as the average C-section in Pittsburgh ($6,891). The costs of childbirth vary so much that a C-section in Cleveland is less expensive than a normal, vaginal delivery in 17 of the 30 costliest cities, according to Castlight.

For C-sections, the price differential is particularly alarming because the single biggest variable that influences a woman's chance of having a C-section is the hospital where she chooses to deliver her baby.

"The birth of a child is such a special time. The fact that these huge price differences exists for maternity care is deplorable. The price variances seen in both routine and Cesarean deliveries reflect the larger systemic problems in our nation's healthcare system," Kristin Torres Mowat, senior vice president of plan development and data operations at Castlight Health, said in a statement.

Here, as ranked by Castlight, are the 30 largest major metropolitan areas in the U.S. ranked from most to least expensive on C-section and vaginal deliveries.

30 most populous U.S. cities ranked by average C-section costs

1. Sacramento, Calif. — $27,067
2. San Francisco — $21,799
3. Portland, Ore. — $18,066
4. Minneapolis — $17,705
5. San Diego — $16,810
6. Denver — $16,808
7. Seattle — $15,638
8. Los Angeles — $14,879
9. Philadelphia — $14,694
10. New York — $14,628
11. Boston — $13,873
12. Dallas — $13,090
13. Tampa, Fla. — $13,035
14. Chicago — $12,600
15. Columbus, Ohio — $12,307
16. Orlando, Fla. — $12,232
17. Indianapolis — $12,181
18. Charlotte, N.C. — $11,741
19. Phoenix — $11,558
20. Miami — $11,480
21. Detroit — $11,334
22. Washington, D.C. — $10,972
23. Houston — $10,039
24. Cincinnati — $10,033
25. Las Vegas — $9,502
26. Atlanta — $9,424
27. Cleveland — $8,772
28. St. Louis — $8,323
29. Kansas City, Mo. — $8,032
30. Pittsburgh — $6,891

30 most populous U.S. cities ranked by average vaginal delivery costs

1. Sacramento, Calif. — $15,420
2. San Francisco — $15,204
3. Minneapolis — $11,527
4. Philadelphia — $11,340
5. Portland, Ore. — $11,043
6. Indianapolis — $10,811
7. Miami — $10,775
8. New York — $10,532
9. Seattle — $10,468
10. Boston — $10,380
11. Los Angeles — $10,285
12. Dallas — $9,861
13. San Diego — $9,709
14. Washington, D.C. — $9,368
15. Orlando, Fla. — $9,238
16. Charlotte, N.C. — $8,857
17. Chicago — $8,838
18. Atlanta — $8,497\
19. Cincinnati — $8,484
20. Houston — $8,465
21. Detroit — $8,463
22. Denver — $8,338
23. Tampa, Fla. — $8,190
24. Las Vegas — $7,985
25. Cleveland — $7,541
26. San Antonio — $7,469
27. Phoenix — $7,094
28. St. Louis — $6,716
29. Pittsburgh — $6,245
30. Kansas City, Mo. — $6,075

Castlight based the analysis on medical claims data, publicly available data and provider information, including actual provider rate sheets with payer-negotiated prices. Prices include costs paid by the patient, plus the amount paid by employers under their respective health plans. Regardless of the delivery method, pregnancy services include prenatal appointments, required ultrasounds, delivery, the hospital stay and one follow-up visit. Castlight did not include the costs associated with additional tests or ultrasounds, imaging, medicine or anesthesia.  

Read more here.

 

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