Allow pregnant women to receive care at any free-standing birth center.
  • Petitioned Fara Palumbo

This petition was delivered to:

Fara Palumbo
BCBSNC, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer
Alan Hughes
BCBSNC, Chief Medical Officer
Don Bradley
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, CEO
Brad Wilson
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
Media Contact

Allow pregnant women to receive care at any free-standing birth center.

    1. Amber Canaan
    2. Petition by

      Amber Canaan

      Mount Pleasant, NC

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!

Recent signatures


    1. BCBS is only half listening!

      Amber Canaan
      Petition Organizer

      I've been working with a lady at BCBS on this, but she went out on vacation for the next 10 days and left no one to work on this with me. That signals to me that they aren't taking us seriously enough.

      So far, the only "option" that I've been given is to go to the Women's Hospital of Greensboro because they recently changed their policy to allow water birth. This is not what I asked for. I do not want a hospital birth and I know a lot of other women don't either. I didn't ask for a hospital that will allow a water birth, I asked for an in-network exception so I and other women can go to the birth center where we're comfortable. Also, the Women's Hospital of Greensboro is about an hour away from me, roughly the same distance as the birth center, but for women who live in Charlotte or further west, it's too far to drive in labor!

      Please share the petition with everyone you can think of. We need hundreds more signatures to get their attention and send the message. Thanks!

    2. I need help spreading the word!

      Amber Canaan
      Petition Organizer

      I need 2-3 people who would be interested in helping me promote this petition to ensure that BCBSNC hears from hundreds, if not thousands of us! They need to know that women should be allowed to choose a birth center birth without being penalized with out of pocket costs when we don't have an in-network option! They can either grant in-network status to both centers, or they can give permanent exceptions to any current or future patient of both birth centers (and any future center).

      If you would be willing to just promote my petition on your facebook page, send emails to your friends and family and anything else you can think of to get the word out, please email me at It won't take much of your time and will have a tremendous impact! Thank you so much!


    3. We've reached 100!

      Amber Canaan
      Petition Organizer

      Keep up the good work everyone! Please keep sharing the petition and getting the word out there. I got a call from BCBS today saying that this situation would be "looked at" and hopefully they could find a resolution. I hope to hear something else tomorrow. Whatever happens, I'll get it in writing. This is for ALL women, not just me!

      Thanks Again!


    4. Reached 100 signatures
    5. Thank you!

      Amber Canaan
      Petition Organizer

      It's only been about 12 hours and we've already got 46 names on the petition. Did you know that every time someone signs the petition, and email is sent directly to the President and CEO of BCBS, along with several other executives? Yep! Can you imagine what would happen if they got hundreds of emails about this? Surely the policy would change! Please keep up the good work and keep sending this to your friends to sign! I really appreciate it!

    6. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Khaleelah Gantt WINSTON-SALEM, NC
      • almost 2 years ago

      The ability to birth in a birthing center is an evidence-based practice for women's care. The individual attention and care provided by LICENSED midwives at birthing centers is important to maintain the most positive and healthy outcomes for mothers and babies. It is important to allow women to adequately utilize their medical insurance plans/coverage in order to decrease health costs and increaseboth fetal and maternal health. After all, this is the "purpose" of medical insurance - to provide coverage for medical needs/costs increasing health outcomes for the subscribers.

    • Kathy Davis WINGATE, NC
      • about 2 years ago

      Every baby deserves to be born healthy.

    • Jessamine Lopez AUSTIN, TX
      • about 2 years ago

      I have BCBS as my insurance and would like to have my next birth at a birthing center, and BCBS should reimburse for it.

    • Anna Kaijser Bots HUNTERSVILLE, NC
      • about 2 years ago

      My husband is a client with BCBSNC. I USED TO be. Perhaps if they offered this coverage I would return as a client. The same quality care is available at Birth Centers and OBGYN offices. The competition to BCBSNC has figured this out. Get with the program!

    • Jennifer Good SPARTANBURG, SC
      • about 2 years ago

      OB reps with BCBS told me I was going to kill my baby by having a home birth. In the end my PCP wrote a referral for me and they paid all but$24 of my home birth but refused to pay for all of the baby's newborn care because we did not have it pre-authorized.


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