Getting a Couple Hours Sleep at the Hospital Cost These New Parents a Fortune

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Hospital charges in the U.S. are wildly unpredictable. A patient can hardly be expected to be prepared for medical bills when the amount charged for relatively mundane things defies all logic in a hospital. A single Tylenol pill can cost $15, and that means people can take hundreds of dollars worth of a basic, over-the-counter painkiller during a hospital stay. Medical billing is so ridiculous that it’s almost guaranteed that any patient leaving the hospital in the U.S. will find something crazy on their bill. For Alex Cortes and his wife, that crazy thing was a $1,420 bill for using the nursery for two hours.

Cortes told LifeZette that he and his wife roomed-in with their new baby daughter, and they took care of her themselves for most of the stay. They did, however, send her to the nursery for about two hours so they could get some sleep. The nursery turned out to be the “world’s most expensive babysitter,” because a couple months later they got a bill that included a $1,420 charge for that nursery stay. Sleep is precious, especially for parents with a new baby, but $710 an hour is pretty unexpected.

Cortes was upset that the nurses did not tell him how expensive those two hours of sleep would be, but medical staff don’t necessarily know what things will cost. Cortes’ family has an insurance plan with a $12,600 deductible, so they did have to pay the $1,420 nursery bill. After the birth and hospital stay, Cortes says they paid the entire $12,600 deductible and about $9,000 in insurance premiums this year.

Medical costs are wild and seemingly unpredictable. A few months ago a new father posted the hospital bill from his baby’s birth to Reddit to show that his wife had been charged $40 to hold their newborn after delivery, and nobody would have thought to ask about fees to hold their own baby.

Did you get hit with any ridiculous charges? Let us know in the comments.