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Giving Birth in Your Rec Room? Make Sure Health Insurance Covers It

pregnant_woman_1These days, you don’t have to be kickin’ it pioneer style to give birth to your baby at home. The notion has become more and more popular in recent years. The most current government data shows that home births increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009. In fact, 29,650 births were at home, which is the highest number since records began being kept in 1989.

When opting for an at-home birth, there are many things to take into careful consideration. Cost and health insurance coverage are two of the big ones. The average cost of a typical, hospital birth is $5,000 to $10,000. An at home birth without complications costs much less – between $1,500 and $5,000.

Will health insurance cover your at-home birth?

Coverage for at-home births varies widely depending on what state you live in and what insurance carrier you have.

Some health insurance carriers offer a limited amount of coverage as long as a midwife is overseeing the delivery. Other carriers would deem an at-home birth “medically inappropriate” and not cover it at all. Then there are carriers who will fully cover your midwife attended birth regardless of whether it occurs in a hospital, your home, or your neighbor’s pool!

Know the facts

  • In 2009, more than 60 percent of at-home births were attended by a midwife. Only 5 percent were attended by a physician.
  • When a physician is present, the cost of the at-home birth escalates significantly.
  • Only a handful of states require insurers to cover at-home births, including New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
  • If your insurer covers at-home birth, the amount of coverage depends on who provides the needed equipment. In most cases, the midwife will already be supplying the fetal monitor. However, things such as rubber sheets for the bed or birthing tubs will most likely not be covered.
  • Some states require midwives to carry malpractice insurance in order to be eligible for reimbursement from health insurance plans.

If this information has caused you to do premature Lamaze breathing, don’t fear. There are a variety of resources available online that can take this conversation further. One excellent source for expectant mothers who are considering an at-home birth is TheBigPushforMidwives.org.

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