Cover Birthing Center at the In-Network Level

Cover Birthing Center at the In-Network Level

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Meagan Barbee started this petition to United Healthcare

During labor and delivery, a person should feel empowered, supported, and free to make the choices they desire to make themselves most comfortable. For some, this may be a hospital with pain intervention and coaching. But for many others, myself included, this is to birth out of a more home-like and comfortable atmosphere, not pressured to receive any non-required interventions. Some choose to birth out of their own home, but for others a freestanding birth center with a midwife is a wonderful option to receive this supportive and empowering environment.

With my first son, I delivered with a midwife and nurse team out of a hospital. I felt heightened anxiety being within the hospital setting, surrounded by a large group of nurses and med students as I brought my son into the world. I don’t regret my birth, but I do feel more enlightened to the benefits of a birthing center. With my second, I am hoping to birth out of a freestanding facility for a more comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.

My insurance company states under my plan coverage that birth centers are to be covered the same as any other maternity and prenatal service. However, no birth centers (as defined by FTC and AABC) exist within at least 100 miles of me.

In conjunction with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) defines a birth center as, "a home-like facility. The birth center is freestanding, or distinctly separate from acute care services within a hospital. Birth centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. The birth center respects and facilitates a woman’s right to make informed choices about her health care and her baby’s health care. The woman’s family, as she defines it, is welcomed to participate in the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period” (Direct quote from AABC website).

Because of this lack of coverage, I have requested a gap exception to receive the coverage I am promised. They denied my initial request, and stated I can receive the same care elsewhere, giving names of other providers. However, each one of these providers birth out of hospitals, not freestanding birth centers by definition. When searching my insurance’s own provider portal, I chose the facility category “Birth Center” and 0 results pop up within 100 miles, proving that even they do not define these offered facilities as birth centers.

It feels they are not actually reading my request. I am writing an appeal to urge them to reconsider and offer me this care. This would be at a lower cost to them as well. And all I am asking for is the coverage I feel should be standard (and that is stated in my plan).

I’d like to provide them with proof that this type of birth is desired and normal and should be covered just as any other option would be. Please sign this petition to show United Healthcare that you stand behind a person’s right to choose how and where they give birth.

Thank you for your support.

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At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!