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Cost of having a baby continues to rise for American families

The cost of having a baby for some American families continues to rise, reveals a new study from the University of Michigan.

The study found that average out-of-pocket spending for maternity care was about $4,500 in 2015. That was up from about $3,000 in 2008.

Researchers say while the Affordable Care Act mandates full coverage of preventative services, it does not restrict how plans impose co-pays and deductables for maternity care.

“We were surprised to learn that the vast majority of women paid for critical health services tied to having a baby,” says lead author Michelle Moniz, M.D.,M.Sc., an obstetrician gynecologist at Michigan Medicine’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital and researcher with the U-M Institute of Healthcare Policy and Innovation. “These are not small co-pays. The costs are staggering.”

The study included a national sample of 657,061 women enrolled in 84,178 employer-sponsored plans who had been hospitalized for childbirth from 2008 to 2015. Researchers analyzed costs for all health care services used before and after delivery that might influence pregnancy outcomes.

Ninety-eight percent of women were found to be paying some out-of-pocket costs.