Miscarriage can take a serious emotional toll on a woman. But another burden, which often gets overlooked, is the financial cost.
After her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, Missouri social worker Janie Faville posted a photo on Facebook of her explanation of benefits statement. The form shows the care she received from the hospital cost $5,584, and Faville had to pay $1,369.57 out of pocket.
“Because people don’t talk about it, I will,” she wrote in the caption. “This is how much a miscarriage costs with good insurance. THIS is why we need Planned Parenthood.”
Faville had a dilation and curettage procedure (D&C) in January after learning she’d miscarried at her nine-week appointment with her OB-GYN. Just one week earlier, she and her husband had seen the baby’s heartbeat.
“I had a missed miscarriage (or a missed abortion in medical terms), meaning that it wasn’t at all like the movies,” she told The Huffington Post. “I had been experiencing very minimal bleeding that we were monitoring and no cramping to speak of.”
The couple scheduled a D&C for the following morning. “One of the first things that I remember saying to my husband after the sonogram tech left the room was that I knew they would give us the choice between a D&C and going home and letting my body take over,” she recalled. “I told him that there was no way that I could just go home and wait for the inevitable to happen.”
Faville said she was devastated. “There are few words that can describe that kind of loss,” she said. “I went through the ‘what ifs,’ and sometimes still do. In a time that felt completely out of my control, I was thankful that I was able to choose what was right for my body and mind.”
The following month, Faville was talking to a friend about her impending medical bills from the procedure. “She stopped me mid-sentence and said, ‘Wait a minute, you have to pay for that?’” she recalled.
“I had never really thought about the costs associated with this type of loss,” she added. “While it was salt in the wound for me, I began thinking about women who are not fortunate enough to have sufficient insurance coverage through their employer and what thousands of dollars of medical debt could do for someone without a safety net ― all of this in addition to the devastating loss of a child.”
After that conversation, Faville shared the photo of her EOB on Facebook. She also posted it on the Facebook group, Pantsuit Nation, where it received over 10,000 likes. Expanding on her initial caption, she wrote:
“This was the last thing on my mind four weeks ago as I struggled to come to terms with losing our baby. Luckily cost didn’t prohibit me from being able to choose how best to proceed for my mind, body, and soul. Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury. THIS is why we need Planned Parenthood and the ACA. This is why we march.”
Faville’s post prompted an outpouring of supportive comments from women who had been in her shoes or simply wanted to offer encouragement and condolences. Many commenters shared their own miscarriage experiences and the financial toll in the aftermath.
“I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks in September due to a kidney infection. $12,000 out of pocket after insurance later, I feel you,” wrote one women.
“Our last miscarriage was complicated and cost several thousand dollars,” added another. “No grieving parent should have to worry about a bill after a loss.”
“With no insurance I paid 11,000 for my miscarriage,” another woman commented. “Our healthcare system needs a lot of work when I pay more for losing a baby than having one.”
Faville edited the post to thank her fellow Pansuit Nation members for their support. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to tell my story and to learn from all of you,” she wrote. “Reading through each and every one of the comments has left me feeling so empowered. There is strength in numbers,” she added noting that the statistics that as many as 1 in 4 known pregnancies end in miscarriage.
She told HuffPost she hopes the post empowers women to share their stories as well. “They are needed now more than ever,” Faville said. “Consciousness raising has worked in the past to bring awareness to women’s issues that had never been talked about, and it can still work. We just have to be louder than all of the noise.”