Premature births costing billions to health plans in the U.S.

premature births costing billions to health plans in the U.S.

A new study claimed that premature births in the U.S. is annually costing in billions to employer-sponsored health plans in the U.S. Nearly 1 in 10 infants takes birth prematurely (i.e., less than 37 weeks of gestation period), which enhances risk of birth-related defects and other health problems.

In 2013, the additional expenditure of employer-sponsored health plans on premature birth was 6 billion USD with major spending on infants, who were born with some birth defects.

“The contribution of this study is to start to tweak out the contribution of birth defects to that overall cost burden, so we can start to prioritize efforts at prevention of both preterm births and birth defects,” said study author, Norman Waitzman, chairperson of Department of Economics at the University of Utah.

“This is a multibillion-dollar burden. In order to prioritize interventions, we have to have an accurate estimate of what the costs are and how those are broken down because often times interventions are tailored to specific populations,” he explained in a university news release.
According to co-lead author, Scott Grosse, a research economist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, women could take precautionary steps to reduce the rate of premature births and birth defects.


“Before getting pregnant, women should talk to their doctor and follow their guidance about eating healthy, including enough folic acid, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol around the time of conception as well as throughout pregnancy,” said Grosse.