We all know that the emotional and physical toll of a miscarriage is incredibly high, but you might not know that the actual price tag for a lost pregnancy is also high — even for women with “good” medical insurance. That’s why one woman is speaking out about how much she had to pay when she had a miscarriage nine weeks into her pregnancy: So that more people would be aware of how expensive this personal tragedy can be — in more ways than one.
Janie Faville, 27, a Kansas City social worker, shared a photo to Facebook of the bill she got for the treatment she received following her miscarriage — and, as you can see, it’s nothing to sniff at:
“Because people don’t talk about it, I will,” Faville wrote in her caption.
“This is how much a miscarriage costs with good insurance. THIS is why we need Planned Parenthood.”
$1,369.57. That’s a lot of money to pay for an absolutely necessary medical treatment — a D&C, or dilation and curettage — that Faville needed through no fault of her own. A D&C, in case you’re not familiar, clears the lining of the uterus following a miscarriage to prevent both infection and heavy bleeding (which otherwise might last for weeks). Basically, it’s not the kind of thing you can decide to skip because you want to save a few bucks. Not that we’re talking about just a few bucks: The total cost, as the Explanation of Benefits in the photo reads, came to $5,584 — and even though Faville has a $1,000 deductible, she still had to pay $1,369.57 out of pocket.
“It wasn’t something that necessarily blindsided me, but it was another thing to have to deal with as you’re moving forward in your process of grief,” she told SELF.
“I kept thinking about people who are so financially strained that [the cost of a miscarriage] could make them lose their house or their apartment or their car or transportation,” Faville said. “Or they would have to choose between that and food.”
Unfortunately, the reality that Faville describes is all too common, particularly for uninsured women. As she says, “THIS is why we need Planned Parenthood.” Because many Planned Parenthood locations offer miscarriage treatment services (from medication to procedures to monitoring and counseling) at a lower cost than hospitals.
Still, Planned Parenthood can’t be expected to fill in all the gaps. What we REALLY need is affordable, comprehensive health insurance for women that actually protects them when they need anything and everything from birth control to a pap smear to a C-section. These are real life needs that are a non-negotiable part of being a woman. Why should insurance companies be able to negotiate their way out of covering them?
And yet, we seem to be moving away from this goal, not towards it. While the Affordable Care Act made it illegal to deny women maternity care and required insurance companies to charge women and men the same prices for the same coverage, the Obamacare repeal promised by the Trump administration could put an end to those measures — and take health coverage away altogether from millions and millions of Americans (of both genders). Also highly troubling is the fact that Seema Varma, Trump’s choice to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has said that pregnancy, maternity, and newborn coverage should be optional in health care plans.
Luckily, Faville was able to work out a payment plan arrangement so she didn’t have to come up with the full amount all at once. But it’s still a huge expense, and one that could be crippling for those in less fortunate situations. That’s why it’s so important for women like Faville to come forward and share their stories — because the more people are aware of the real costs associated with health care for women, the more people will (hopefully) protest unfair practices and demand change.
A miscarriage is a painful enough experience without the added burden of potentially crippling debt. And no one should ever have to suffer unbearable financial consequences from receiving necessary medical care. Let’s all make our voices heard!