The purpose of this study was to estimate the aggregate annual costs of maternal and infant health care and to describe the flow of funds that finance that care. Estimates of costs and financing based on household and provider surveys, third-party claims data, and hospital-discharge data were combined into a single, best estimate. The total cost of perinatal care in 1989 was $27.8 billion, or $6850 per mother-infant pair. Payments made directly by patients or third parties for this care totaled $25.4 billion, or about 7 percent of personal health care spending by the nonaged population. Payments were less than costs because they did not include a value for direct delivery care or for bad debt and charity care, which accounted for $2.4 billion. Private insurance accounted for about 63 percent of total payments, and Medicaid accounted for 17 percent of the total. National health reform would provide windfall receipts to hospitals, which would receive payment for the considerable bad debt and charity care they provide. Reform might also provide short-term gains to providers as private payment rates are substituted for those of Medicaid.
Originally published in: American Journal of Public Health, September 1994, v. 84, no. 9, pp. 1473-1478.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.