Health

The Unexpected Cost of Miscarriage Procedures in America

Having a miscarriage can take a serious emotional toll on women. But what can make matters worse is that miscarriage procedures often cost thousands of dollars — even if you have health insurance.

hospital

Janie Faville, a social worker in Kansas City, Missouri, shared a photo of the "explanation of benefits statement" she received after experiencing a miscarriage nine weeks into her pregnancy. The price tag — $1,369 — was what she had to pay after her insurance covered the first $4,000. The viral post was first picked up by the parenting blog Scary Mommy.

"Because people don't talk about it, I will," Faville wrote. "This is how much a miscarriage costs with good insurance. THIS is why we need Planned Parenthood."

It's not uncommon for women to have to pay out-of-pocket for reproductive health services such as miscarriage procedures or abortions, according to a 2013 report from the Guttmacher Institute. It found that women paid $470 on average for a first-trimester abortion. There's also the added cost of lost wages from taking time off due to an abortion, which adds up to $198 on average.

But while information about the costs of abortion services has been widely reported, less attention has been paid to miscarriage expenses. "Many who I spoke with were unaware that there were costs associated with miscarriage," Faville told ATTN:, "It's just not something people talk about. I had never thought about it, and I would have never guessed that in some cases miscarriages cost more than live births."

Faville said she didn't think about what she'd have to pay when she visited the hospital in January. She had a "dilation and curettage" procedure, which involves removing tissue from the uterus.

doctor's office

A Planned Parenthood representative at the organization's San Diego administrative office agreed that Faville's case highlighted the importance of access to women's health services. She told ATTN: that though miscarriage procedures cost about $1,000 on average, pricing can be adjusted on a patient-by-patient basis. So, for example, if a patient is unable to afford a miscarriage service, there are funds available and non-profit providers that partner with Planned Parenthood to help cover the bill.

"I want people to start seeing healthcare differently," Faville said. "It should be a right, not a privilege dependent on income. That's not entitlement, it's compassion. Above all, I hope women feel empowered to continue to share their stories and experiences. Our voices are needed now more than ever."