When the phone rings, it’s usually a regular business call. Unless it’s the last week of the month, when we start getting incessant calls from the bar association, making sure, for the umpteenth time, that I am properly listed in the directory (and no, I don’t want to buy a copy). But these days, we’ve been hearing from more and more pregnant women, calling because maybe, just maybe, we’re actually open, and if not, could someone please help with her insurance company?
We’re used to the “can you recommend an XYZ provider in Brooklyn” calls – in fact, we really enjoy being helpful in such a immediate, one-on-one way. In a world of phone trees, we’re happy to be the friendly voice. But, these insurance calls are coming more frequently, and one issue has risen to the top:
In the last few weeks we’ve gotten a number of calls from women who are covered by self-insured health insurance policies (often multi-national corporations or unions). And many of these policies exclude out-of-hospital birth, going so far as to claim, in once instance, that it was an “experimental” procedure.
I’m not sure how else to put this, except that these exclusions just make no sense. Health and financial outcomes are better when low-risk birth is moved out of a hospital setting. These company policies are costing – you guessed it – the companies. These policies are not driven by the bottom line or concern for what’s best for mom and baby.
Coincidence or trend? We’re still collecting information, but if you have a story about a self-insured policy issuing a denial for out-of-hospital birth (birth center or homebirth) we’d love to hear from you. We’re working on the best strategy to deal with the issue, and will keep everyone updated.