Financial Impact on Business

Nearly half a million babies will be born too soon in our country this year. The emotional impact of premature birth on families is high — and the cost to businesses is astronomical. Childbirth and newborn care are a big part of employers’ health insurance costs, representing the most expensive conditions billed to commercial insurers for hospital care1and accounting for 7 of the top 10 individual hospital procedures billed.2 With 1.7 million women in the workforce having a baby each year, there is much that you can do to help moms and moms-to-be — and to increase your profitability. The March of Dimes offers a no-cost, multidimensional worksite wellness program, Healthy Babies Healthy Business®, that is tailored to the needs of your company, provides health information for employees, and promotes a pregnancy - and family-friendly work environment.

Prematurity – Did You Know?

  • Affects 1 in 9 babies born in our country

  • Can lead to long-term health problems andlifelong disabilities

  • Is the leading cause of death during the firstmonth of life

  • Causes developmental delays, cerebral palsy,blindness and intellectual disabilities A major impact on business

  • Affects almost 11 percent of babies coveredby employer health plans

  • Places a multibillion-dollar burden onbusiness, with employers billed more than$12 billion annually in excess health care costs

  • Costs individual companies thousands of dollars in absenteeism and lost productivity

Cost to Employers

For a large employer health plan:

  • Employers pay 12 times as much in healthcare costs for premature/low birthweight (LBW) babies as for babies born without complications.

  • Each premature/LBW baby costs employers an additional $49,760 in newborn health care costs. When maternal costs are added, employers and their employees pay $58,917 more when a baby is born premature.

  • With 1 in 9 babies born prematurely, employers spend more on that one premature baby than on the remaining eight babies combined.

* Source: Employer expenditures and healthcare utilization figures from Truven Health Analytics, Inc. Costs of Preterm Birth. Prepared for March of Dimes, 2013.
1. Wier, L.M. (Thomson Reuters), and Andrews, R.M. (AHRQ). The National Hospital Bill: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2008. HCUP Statistical Brief #107.
March 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
2. HCUPnet. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
Accessed September 12, 2013.