Shocked about the cost of childbirth in the US!

(43 Posts)
somepeople2013 Mon 08-Jul-13 21:04:36
itsatiggerday Tue 09-Jul-13 19:56:03

It's interesting too from a medic's perspective.

DH had a run in over the phone when he worked in A&E with a parent of a student who fell off his bike and bumped his head.

Guy came in, was reviewed as per normal procedure, kept in for a while to see (can you tell I'm not a medic and know no specifics!) and after a few hours they were happy to discharge him. Cue call from his Dad in the middle of the night US time (was by now early am in UK) to rant about how his son had a head trauma and needed a CAT, MRI, full bloods and possibly ultrasounds. He could not see his son but had spoken to him (conscious, fully functioning) had no actual symptoms that hadn't been dealt with but thought that was simply required for any kind of bump to the head. DH could not get rid of him, just kept phoning back and ranting. Eventually the consultant got fed up because he would not listen and said that he was satisfied son was fine and if there was a complaint here were the PAL details.

DH actually said he'd hate to practise in the US as it would massively reduce the value of being the dr other than to have learnt how to read a load of test results. No diagnostic capability at all. He said it wasn't even a close call, the guy just didn't need all the tests and given that there are side effects and potential implications of many of them, it's not just financially that you wouldn't want to make them routine.

Patchouli Tue 09-Jul-13 20:01:15

That Lionel Shriver book (I can't think of the title now) was interesting: the husband's employers had him on a rubbish insurance to save money and his wife got cancer, he ended up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatment for her (which extended her life a few months) because you can't not, can you?

timidviper Tue 09-Jul-13 20:09:44

I agree that the US system is expensive and profit oriented but we are very sheltered from the true costs of healthcare in this country. We tend to assume costs are not high because we never encounter them as the NHS is free at the point of delivery. Most people would view healthcare very differently if they knew the costs

didireallysaythat Tue 09-Jul-13 20:28:23

When I worked at a university in the US in the late 1990s a colleague was billed $800 for an epidural. Students got married and had kids because while they were students they had 0% co-pay (is 100% cover). Having a baby when 22 and doing a PhD because it's the only time you will be able to afford to deliver a baby seems crazy to me. The NHS isn't perfect but I'd rather pay taxes towards it than not.

expatinscotland Tue 09-Jul-13 20:35:39

I had a bankruptcy in the US due to medical debt.

I was made redundant, and so temping as a secretary and no insurance.

One morning, on my way to work at 7.30, a drunk driver ran a red light and t-boned the car I was driving (my boyfriend's but I was insured on it) on the passenger side.

I spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and needed loads of physio and treatment.

Needless to say, the drunk guy was driving a 'friend's' car, no insurance and was a repeat offender from another state.

There's no way I'd ever live there again and a BIG part of it is the healthcare 'system'.

My daughter died of complications from cancer treatment last year. If we were in the US, her treatment would have run into the millions.

expatinscotland Tue 09-Jul-13 20:36:39

Meaning, we had liability insurance for me to drive the car, but that doesn't cover healthcare, and the driver well, he was no insured at all, so I was stuck with the entire bill for his fuck up.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 09-Jul-13 20:52:05

What happens if your child is born with CP or something that requires lifelong input?

expatinscotland Tue 09-Jul-13 21:01:07

Depends, Lighthouse, but it is far rarer there to hear people say they cannot work at all as they are carers. A person has be very disabled to not work at all, or old.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 09-Jul-13 21:06:11

I know a couple over here who are both wheelchair dependant and go to the States for their holidays because the facilities are so much more geared up to their needs and they say people treat them much better and "normal" over there. Over here they have carers and a fully adapted flat so, what would happen if they actually lived there?

DalekInAFestiveJumper Tue 09-Jul-13 21:39:41

The ADA is brilliant, and is one reason facilities in the states are better for wheelchair users. The law is very harsh for people not providing equal access. It also helps that most buildings are newer, and therefore built to be wheelchair friendly. Well, and due to the sheer volume of space, buildings are bigger and easier to negotiate with a wheelchair.

But actual care? Not so great. I know a number of wheelchair bound people, none of them have a carer, unless you count uncompensated family members.

Weegiemum Tue 09-Jul-13 22:19:19

I get a treatment every 6 weeks for a form of peripheral neuropathy (numbness in my hands and feet, dizziness, fatigue, loss of balance etc). It's a lifelong condition. I will continue on the treatment indefinitely.

Through the Internet I'm in touch with people globally with this disease (it's very rare). In the USA, you can usually get the treatment for a year on insurance. After that it easily costs $15000 a month. Without it I can't walk, write, feed or dress myself, eat safely etc etc ...

God bless the nhs!

amandine07 Sat 13-Jul-13 09:34:04

Indeed God bless the NHS!
This thread has been an interesting read as I know virtually nothing of the US healthcare system.

A friend has just moved over to New York.
I don't think I could ever contemplate a move over to the States, and healthcare would be the main reason why.

Is it really that bad with insurance costs & hospital bills?
That is a rhetorical question- I am so glad we have the NHS here in the UK, despite its faults & frustrations!

purplewithred Sat 13-Jul-13 09:43:04

My great niece was born in the USA at 24 weeks while her parents were on holiday. Fabulous treatment and very good insurance, which was lucky as the total cost seems to have amounted to about $1,000,000.

purplewithred Sat 13-Jul-13 09:48:38

I was also surprised when on a trip to the US to discover how much monthly insurance costs are: 3-4 years ago a 55 year old was paying about $700 a month for medical cover. He was astonished to discover a) that our 'state' healthcare was really rather good and not at all like they imagined b) that we had private healthcare over here in the UK too if we wanted and c) that I was paying only £65/month for mine but getting the expensive long term stuff covered for that.

I think US spends 3x the proportion of GDP than we do on healthcare, but that only covers 75% of the population to our 100% and their life expectancy is 1 year less. Go Figure, as I believe they say.

nicecupofteaandbiscuit Sat 13-Jul-13 09:53:01

My sister-in-law had a baby in the US last year and the total costs (including all visits to the midwife, tests, through to delivery) was $70,000 (all covered by insurance). She was an older mum, so she did have extra tests, but still...There weren't any complications with the birth other than requiring forceps.

meddie Tue 16-Jul-13 13:40:00

A lot of people dont realise what good value the NHS is.
In the uk if i had a sore knee
my gp would more than likely suggest anti inflammatories and rest and review in a few weeks to see if it settles. Most times it would. So job done.

In the USA due to threat of litigation i would be more likely to be sent for bloods. Cat/mri scan possibly even scope. In the vast majority of cases totally unecessary and expensive.

CrackersandCheese Tue 16-Jul-13 13:54:54

I remember being in the US when they were discussing the healthcare reforms a few years ago. I was watching the news and they were interviewing people back in the UK who were slagging off the NHS. It made me so madconfused

edam Tue 16-Jul-13 18:33:58

Ponders, I think the government doesn't value the NHS for several political reasons. One, it is always a positive for Labour. The Tories know they will never score highly on 'which party would protect the NHS' (or not as highly as Labour).

Two, it was a Labour invention - the post-war Atlee government. The Tories have long memories and still resent the fact that a socialist idea is popular and embedded in our national consciousness. Three, Tories are (since Thatcher) in favour of privatisation and the 'free' market (usually rigged, but whatever) and the NHS directly contradicts that. They would rather have private companies competing to commission and provide healthcare - and indeed their Health Act enables that to happen.

America has the most expensive healthcare in the world yet some of the poorest health outcomes. Their system is mad. There are all sorts of ways different players can manipulate the system to generate profits - doctors ordering unnecessary (and sometimes dangerous/painful) tests, drug companies ramping up prices, the endless bureaucracy caused by having to work out who pays who for what, insurance companies gaming the system by excluding stuff that should be covered, or dropping people once they develop something expensive.

Expat is right about bankruptcy - medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the US. European brain surgeons tell me if you develop a glioblastoma tumour in the US, you will go bankrupt. And that's just the financial cost, God knows what the human cost is - but avoidable mortality is significant.

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