Insurance covers pretty much all of it for most people. We had pretty mediocre insurance and paid out of pocket I think $2000 for all of it including my prenatal care. Also here in the US we stay on average 2-3 days for a vaginal birth in the hospital and up to a week for a C-section. It doesn't seem like women in the UK stay in the hospital as long as we do post-birth which drives up costs.
It IS ridiculous though, cost-wise.
But there isn't any after care in the US AFAIK? We have midwives and health visitors who will have regular visits at home with new Mums after the birth. Plus there are lots of community based projects like baby sensory etc that new Mums are able to attend, often for free.
If a woman requires medical attention and needs to stay in hospital after a birth then they will. But most women don't and are usually well enough to go home. I guess it's cultural differences but I don't see why a woman would stay in hospital after a birth if she didn't need to.
Excuse the novel below, this subject is one I am passionate about...
No, we do not have health visitors or midwives do home visits, generally. Some cities are starting programs in that vein for underserved women to try to lower infant mortality in parts of the US and maternal mortality and more and more women are using doulas who often do post-natal work too but doulas are as of yet not covered by insurance. But overall, once you are home from the hospital that is it besides the 6 week check up.
Cost in the US are the highest in the world. When you go into a US hospital for any care, but including maternity care, they literally ring you up at each step. You have a wristband with a barcode and anytime you get any medication or something, they scan the barcode. There have also been cases of them charging the baby SEPARATELY from the mother for things like nursery time even if your child didn't go into the nursery and some insurances won't cover that. Seeing an American hospital bill can be a real shock.
Not everyone has insurance and even for those that do, deductibles can be extremely high. Many women still pay several thousands for their maternity care and many others simply never seek pre-natal care because of costs, lack of information or lack of access since many parts of the US lack a provider due to location. Congress tried REALLY hard last year during the ACA/Obamacare fight to get rid of the maternity coverage requirement for insurance plans. One of the main reasons costs for maternity care has gone down a bit is because the ACA mandated everyones insurance plan carry maternity coverage, creating wider market share and lowering costs. Unfortunately, some folks don't think that should be the case so if TPTB stay in, that could also go.
Women in Europe are very lucky. I wish the US had similar rights and programs