What It Really Costs When You Have a Miscarriage in America

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At a time when many of us are fighting for the right to affordable health care, it’s important to recognize the actual price we pay for such care. Many of us already know that being pregnant and delivering a baby in the United States is extraordinarily costly. And we all know that in terms of health costs, being a parent is even moreso. Frequent visits from well check-ups to vaccinations to care for numerous childhood ailments can put a dent in anyone’s bank account. But what pregnancy and child loss? The cost of miscarriage is higher thank you think, as is the cost of all forms of loss.

The Cost of Miscarriage, in Numbers

Piera Gelardi, a writer for Refinery 29, recently revealed that she had a miscarriage in an article for the site. Many of us have read such tragic stories before, but we don’t always get an idea of the financial loss that once eager parents-to-be face after losing their future children. Gelardi revealed that she received a hospital bill just a month after her miscarriage…for a whopping $40,374.06. This is what it cost her to lose her pregnancy and spend 20 hours in the hospital while doing so. She’s fortunate to have health insurance, and was eventually only billed $150. Still, having to pay $150 for the loss of your child stings for anyone who’s been there.

I know, because I have.

While I did not have a miscarriage, I did give birth prematurely to my own daughter, who only lived a few hours after birth. At the time, I was lucky to be on Medicaid. But had I not been, I would have been billed over $100,000 for the day and a half I was in the hospital, and for the care my premature baby received for about 8 hours of life. And honestly, that’s only the half of it, because when you factor in the time you end up having to take off work, and how that might set your bill payments back, and the eventual snowball effect, the cost is even higher.

Gelardi brought all this up to prove a point, and it’s a good one. Republican lawmakers have been fighting hard this past year to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which currently allows more than 9 million individuals to have health care. While the Skinny Repeal was recently shut down (thanks to the efforts of activists—especially disability-rights activists), there’s more trouble brewing ahead.

Women like Gelardi and myself (and all the others who also shared their bills post-miscarriage in Gelardi’s article) can only hope that more individuals are able to be covered by proper health care, and that less have to not only suffer the experience of losing a pregnancy or a child, but that they don’t have to go bankrupt while doing so.

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(Image: iStock / AntonioGuillem)