WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 17, 2009 The medical costs that businesses pay to care for one premature baby for a year could cover the costs for nearly a dozen healthy, full-term infants, according to new statistics from the March of Dimes.
The average medical cost for healthy full-term babies from birth through their first birthday was $4,551 in 2007 dollars, of which more than $3,800 is paid for by health plans, according to the new data. For premature and/or low birthweight babies (less than 37 completed weeks gestation and/or less than 2500 grams), the average cost was nearly $50,000, of which more than $46,000 was borne by the health plan.
"Preventing preterm birth is one way we can begin to rein in our nation's skyrocketing health care costs and help businesses protect their bottom line," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "The best prevention of prematurity is good maternity care."
Dr. Howse spoke today at a luncheon titled, "Healthy Babies, Healthy Business: Cutting Costs and Reducing Premature Birth Rates," co-hosted by the March of Dimes with the National Chamber Foundation, a think-tank affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The March of Dimes offers businesses "Healthy Babies, Healthy Business," a Web-based pregnancy and newborn health information portal that helps improve employee health as well as the health of the bottom line. "HBHB" provides a secure and easy way for employers to deliver important accurate, up-to-date health information directly to their employees and dependents and reduce corporate health care costs. More information is available at: marchofdimes.com/hbhb.
Preterm birth is a serious health problem 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
|Contact: Elizabeth Lynch|
March of Dimes Foundation