Insurance Must Cover Midwife Services

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Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill last week to require health insurers to cover midwifery services and home births. Insurance companies ... will be required to cover prenatal care by midwives and home births in Vermont. Medicaid and the Vermont Health Access Plan already cover midwifery services and home births.

The Midwife Bill is intended to improve access to wide-ranging health services for women, reduce health care costs, and strengthen the quality of care that mothers receive during pregnancy and childbirth, according to a statement on the state website.

... “Access to midwifery care and home birth should not be limited only to those who can afford those services out of pocket,” ... “This law will ensure that all expectant mothers get the coverage and care they want and deserve.”

... childbirth outside of hospitals is becoming more popular. “Homebirth is only expected to grow ...

... Vermont Medical Society president said ... “We’re concerned it somehow creates the impression that homebirths are the safe alternative to hospital birth. It creates a false sense of security.” ... more newborn babies died after home births than after hospital births. It said newborn mortality tripled in home births compared to hospital births. It also found that mothers giving birth at home had less risk of “lacerations, hemorrhage, and infections.”

... “The medical lobby continues to have a monopoly over the maternity care in the United States and the Wax study is deeply flawed, as well very politically motivated to give mothers the idea that wanting a good birth experience is selfish and harmful to the baby, when it is actually the opposite.”

In only 27 states may CPMs legally deliver babies, and in 23 states it is illegal for a CPM to deliver babies. Only in New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, and now Vermont are home births covered by insurance.

It's time to end the discrimination against midwifery care and homebirth. If we say we provide woman-centered care, and women want care from midwives and to birth at home, then we must provide these services to women. There is a great demand for women to have choice and control over their care, just as people generally wish to have choice and control over their lives.