How Much Does a Cesarean Section Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

A cesarean section, also commonly known as a “c-section,” is a surgical procedure that involves more than one incision in the mother’s abdomen during pregnancy.  A cesarean section is commonly performed when there is more than one baby or there are complications with the pregnancy itself.  While most cesarean sections are recommended by a doctor during a baby delivery, many mothers today plan to schedule one to avoid a natural childbirth.  The cost of a cesarean section will depend on your insurance coverage, location, the hospital, geographical location, what the facility includes in the bill and doctor performing the procedure.

Eddie and Julie by Eddie Awad, on Flickr
Eddie and Julie” (CC BY 2.0) by Eddie Awad

How much does a cesarean section cost?

Without a health insurance policy, a cesarean section can cost anywhere from $13,000 to as much as $32,000.  This is going to greatly depend on the factors mentioned above such as the hospital, your insurance, as well as the surgeon performing the procedure itself.  The reason a C-section will be more than a natural birth is due to the operating room usage, the surgeon and the use of an anesthesiologist.  Also, women who give birth via a C-section also need to stay at the hospital longer, usually three days longer than the average woman who gives a natural birth.

With an insurance policy, it will all depend on co-pays and deductibles.  Since all health insurance policies are different, it is best to call your health insurance company to discuss your benefits as well as what is going to be covered.  On average, those with insurance policies pay anywhere from $350 to $3,500.

Meaghan O’Connel at TheBillFold.com, for example, posted her insurance bill and the total charges were $24,254.

This CNBC article said Los Angeles has the highest C-section costs at $42,530, while the Pittsburgh had the lowest average at $6,891.  The national average, according to the article for a C-section, was $12,232.

What are the extra costs?

Complications, which could prolong the surgery, could increase the costs.

An unstable baby or NICU visit can lead to additional costs for your newborn.

How can I save money?

Consider talking with the hospital beforehand.  Many hospitals are more than happy to set up a payment plan or even offer a discount if you pay in full.  If you offer to pay in full in cash or on a credit card, you could save up to 40 percent, depending on the hospital’s billing department.

If it’s a public hospital and you meet certain income requirements, you may be entitled to certain discounts.

If your doctor is affiliated with more than one hospital, talk with the hospitals ahead of time, especially if you know you’re giving birth via a C-section.  While most hospitals can’t give you an exact estimate, they can do their best to offer a “ballpark” price.


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