November is Prematurity Awareness Month and today marks World Prematurity Day, where various organizations focus the nation’s attention on premature birth. According to the CDC, last year one in every nine babies was born premature in the United States. That’s approximately 450,000 babies each year.
Premature birth is a major driver of health insurance costs. In 2007, the Institute of Medicine reported that the cost associated with medical and health care services for preterm infants was $16.9 billion, with more than 85 percent of those medical care services delivered in infancy. Comparatively, the average medical cost for a healthy baby is $4,389, but for a premature baby it jumps to $54,194. That is a considerable difference. One strategy to reduce costs is to work with a team of NICU experts who can manage the ongoing care management needs of these high risk infants and their families. At ProgenyHealth, we feel that there is a significant opportunity to simultaneously improve outcomes and reduce the costs to the health care system.