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Medical Costs for One Premature Baby Could Cover a Dozen Healthy Births
Date:3/17/2009

that costs the nation more than $26 billion annually, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine. Nearly 543,000 babies - one out of every eight - are born too soon each year in the United States and the rate has risen more than 36 percent since the early 1980s. Preterm birth is a leading cause of newborn death and babies who do survive face the risk of lifelong health conditions.

Other speakers at the luncheon included the Acting U.S. Surgeon General, RADM Steven K. Galson, M.D., MPH, and:

  • Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce;
  • Alan R. Fleischman, M.D., March of Dimes senior vice president and medical director;
  • Deborah Campbell, M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine; American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Perinatal Pediatrics;
  • Hal C. Lawrence, III, MD, vice president of practice activities, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists;
  • Jeffrey Kang, MD, chief medical officer, CIGNA Corporation.
  • Anthony Wisniewski, executive director of healthcare policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"CIGNA has seen a savings of more than $6,000 per pregnancy for our employees enrolled in our Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies program," said Dr. Jeffrey Kang, CIGNA's chief medical officer. "Cost is a universal concern for all employers, big or small. Many small businesses today may not have the maternity care program that a company like CIGNA has, yet the financial impact to a small company is enormous when just one employee's baby is born too soon."

The March of Dimes contracted with Thomson Reuters to estimate the cost of prematurity and complicated deliveries to large employer-based health plans for infants born in 2005. Analyses of medical costs included inpatient and outpatient medical care and prescription drugs for infants from birth
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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