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Vermont requires insurers to cover home births

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

From Bloomberg Businessweek May 19, 2011

 

As a rural state with one of the higher rates of home births, Vermont will soon require private health insurers to cover the services of midwives who attend them, joining a handful of states with similar mandates. 

 

 

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law on Wednesday surrounded by mothers and their babies born at home, saying access to midwifery care and home birth shouldn't be restricted to those who can afford to pay for it out of pocket.
 
"This law will ensure that all expectant mothers get the coverage and care they want and deserve," he said.

 

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Tell us about your experiences trying to get insurance (in any state) to cover homebirth or a homebirth midwife.

 

post #2 of 8

I'm currently dealing with this with my third pregnancy. The previous two were born at birth centers in another state. We are now living in New York state which has a law that requires insurance companies to cover homebirths, but we have a Florida based insurance (BCBS). I'm having an awful time finding out who sets what rules since they tell me that the New York Blue Cross Blue Shield will set the Usual and Customary Rates (but they won't disclose what they are), and the FL insurance will set all the coverage. So, we really don't know that they are going to cover anything and are having to go forward blindly and will possibly get stuck with the whole bill. They also denied our request to be covered in-network (since there are no in-network homebirth midwives) which doubles our deductible. The bottom line, getting the birth we want is proving to be very difficult and complicated. :(

post #3 of 8

Yay, my Father-in-Law (a VT State Rep) voted for this!  Glad to see that he's coming down on the side of women and non-industrial medical care, even though his oldest daughter is an OBGYN.  (Who terrorized me during my entire pregnancy.) 

post #4 of 8

That is really cool! 

post #5 of 8

Hooray for VT moms! I live in a rural area of Washington state, with very limited access to quality healthcare of ANY kind, let alone maternity/birth care, and I am planning a home birth with a midwife and doula. The nearest birth center is about an hour and a half drive and the nearest hospital is over an hour away, so even if I wanted a hospital birth it would be kind of an ordeal just to get there (who wants to sit in a car for over an hour while in labor???). Our insurance policy states that they will cover 65% of the cost of a home birth. However, they will ONLY cover services by CNMs (not only will they not cover any services by a LM, they won't even cover CPMs), and in our state CNMs work almost exclusively in hospitals...therefore, if you need insurance to cover some of the cost, you are pretty much forced to go to either a hospital or birth center. I searched for months for midwives, birth centers, etc. and did not come across a single CNM who would do home births. So, in short, we are going to end up paying 100% of the cost our home birth out of pocket.

 

This policy doesn't make a lot of sense to me...the insurance company will cover 100% of a hospital birth, but only 65% of a home birth (and ONLY if your HB is attended by a CNM or OB/GYN)...home births in our state generally cost about 1/3 as much as a hospital birth, so why on earth would the insurance company not cover the less expensive option? I feel very lucky that my husband and I will be able to afford it (barely), but my heart just aches for all the mothers who out of economic necessity have their choices restricted by what the insurance company will (or will not) cover.

post #6 of 8

YAY FOR VERMONT!!! 

 

While it's scary that this law even HAS to be out there...(since it should go without saying...in EVERY state) I'm glad another one is joining reason.  I am planning a move to New Hampshire before I give birth and I am trying to find out what that will mean for us!  It is harder than I thought to find out this information. 

We have New York based insurance,  but if we move for the birth, we'll be living in NH.  I have NO idea what that will mean...and what the law is there now (though I know they were working toward that law as well for the past few years).

 

Any resource that tells you the state laws?  I would think there would be a main government website with this information???

 

 

post #7 of 8

http://mana.org/laws.html

check out the "references" section on the left ...also http://narm.org/  might have some info....  i think NH might have easier laws than NY....when it comes to insurance - persistance is key

post #8 of 8

I am so pleased to read this...it is long over due.

As a mother of five wonderful kids now all grown and all home births...I am relieved that this law should be implemented to afford woman more choice on their birthing. 

Having my children at home in the 70's was a challenge and the support for my radical decision was very limited. To know that you can have the birth experience you want and not have to fight for your insurance to cover the event is one less thing to be concerned about.

 

My first home birth I literally had to throw the nurse who visited my home out the door. I couldn't sit in my home a week from giving birth and listen to the horror stories and threats of what could happen and what they (the doctors at the prenatal clinic and authorities who disapproved of my decision to use a midwife) would do when or if my baby died.

 

It was truly a Kodak moment as I propelled her in front of my rotund stomach and hurled out my front door.

 

Thankful those days are far behind us....woman of power and woman of choice...I applaud you all.

 

 

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