It’s no secret that raising kids is expensive, but one mom’s honest post about the price of giving birth is still turning heads. Marina Mogilko, a popular YouTube personality and mom who lives in California, recently took to TikTok to share the bill she got following the delivery of her second child. The seven-digit total has inspired an important conversation about the true cost of giving birth and how the price of healthcare in the U.S. is hurting families.
In her video, Mogilko says she chose to labor at at home for a few hours before heading to the hospital to give birth. When she arrived at the hospital and was admitted, she was already eight centimeters dilated. “Because this is my second baby, the delivery was super fast,” she adds. “I delivered in 20 minutes after entering the room. It was a very smooth delivery. I had a tear, which they stitched, and then they brought us to another room.”
In the recovery room, Mogilko says she had her own bathroom and there was a place for her husband to sleep. They also had unlimited food. “Because we had a small kid at home, we asked them to discharge us the next day,” she explains. “So we only stayed there for one night. We went home, and in two weeks, we received a bill: $36,000.”
The actual amount of the bill was $36,445.16. However, Mogilko has health insurance, so after adjusting for the insurance payment, she ended up owing $2,201.25 out of pocket. While she didn’t pay the full amount, she still emphasizes how absurd it is to be charged “$36,000 for a natural delivery and one night in a hospital.”
Mogilko’s post started a frank discussion about the astronomical price people in the U.S. pay to deliver their babies in a hospital. Though she and her husband live in California, many people shared that the cost is just as high in other parts of the country.
“My C-section in Michigan with good insurance still ran me $7,000,” one person writes in the comments on her post. “I’m good on having any more of these things.”
“I had twins and the bill was over a million [dollars] due to NICU charges and stays,” another person, who lives in Florida, writes.
The average national cost of childbirth for an individual with employer-sponsored insurance is $13,811, according to a report published in the American Journal of Managed Care. This amount may vary depending on which state you live in, as well as the cost of post-delivery care or other required interventions. For example, the report shows that a vaginal birth typically costs more in California and northeastern states, compared to midwestern and southern states.
But the price is high no matter where you live, and it’s much more than parents pay in many other parts of the world. The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide universal healthcare for its citizens. Many people who live outside of the U.S. were stunned by Mogilko’s TikTok post and commented to say how the cost of giving birth in their own countries compares.
“In Norway we get all of this for free because our taxes pay for it,” one person writes. “I think it’s sad the U.S. doesn’t follow.”
“[Childbirth] is free in Sweden, and you get $120 every month until they are 18 years old, plus free school, doctor and dentist [visits],” another person writes. “And you get paid to go to college.”
Even when births require NICU care or involve complications, citizens of many other countries say they pay no additional costs for their care.
“In Australia, having a baby via C-section, I spent two nights in the NICU, seven nights in the hospital, and my son was in the NICU for 14 days,” one person explains. “My bill: $0.”
While healthcare programs vary by country, there are dozens of countries that offer universal healthcare, many with programs that were put in place as long ago as the 1970s and 1980s. And though Americans frequently disagree on how to pay for healthcare, 63% of U.S. adults say the government has the responsibility to provide healthcare coverage for all.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that it costs $233,610 to raise a child, albeit one who was born in 2015, to the age of 17 in the U.S. Mogilko’s post is a sobering look at the huge financial burdens that can accompany pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing, as well as a reminder of just how much the U.S. could stand to improve when it comes to supporting expectant parents and their families.