Unlike nearly every other insurance company, BCBS denies women the ability to deliver at a free-standing birth center with midwives if there is an in-network hospital and obstetrician nearby.
In the state of NC, there is only one in-network birth center, the Women's Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill. For women who live hours away from this birth center, options are limited. Birth centers such as the Carolina Community Maternity Center in Fort Mill, SC, and the Natural Beginnings Birth Center in Statesville, NC, are both out of network. Both have requested in-network contracts, both have been denied.
BCBSNC claims that hospitals can provide the "same" service as that of a birth center, but they cannot. Hospitals rarely, if ever, allow for water births. In the Charlotte and surrounding areas, no hospital allows this. Hospitals also require frequent, if not constant, fetal monitoring. When the time for birth arrives, women are usually lying flat on their backs, working against gravity.
The ability to birth in a birth center allows low-risk women to move freely, labor wherever they feel most comfortable, without constant interruption and intervention. Birth center births are cost effective, often costing half or less of a hospital birth. Recovery time is decreased, mother-baby bonding is increased and the family receives unparalleled one-to-one care that is not available in the hospital setting.
BCBS claims that birthing at a birth center is the mother's "preference" and not medically necessary. They will allow a woman to go to the birth center, but on out-of-network benefits. For some, this means twice the deductible, which could already be thousands of dollars. This isn't right and needs to change immediately! These centers are trying to do the best they can for their patients and the patients are trying to do the best they can for themselves, their babies and their families, but BCBS is slamming the door in their faces, making it extremely difficult for everyone.
Birth is an intimate experience that can be achieved without the use of narcotic pain medications and constant intervention. For low-risk women, birthing in a birth center can provide an atmosphere conducive to alternative pain management, where her body can work as it was intended to bring forth a safe and natural childbirth. The birth center atmosphere provides the support and encouragement needed for a woman's body to progress quickly and easily without the need for interventions such as pitocin and artificial rupture of membranes. For low-risk women with healthy pregnancies, a hospital is not required.
Please sign my petition to tell BCBS that this is unacceptable and their policy needs to change immediately! Let your voice be heard!