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  • Writer's pictureHannah Burba, CPM

WILL MY INSURANCE PAY FOR MY HOME BIRTH?

Maybe!


This is a question I get asked a LOT- and for good reason. Many people believe that they can birth for “free” at a hospital and don’t want to pay extra to birth at home outside of that system.


To this I say: Nothing is truly “free”-


I think many people are drawn to home birth because they feel they have had needs or desires that fell flat in the large, one-size-fits-all model of our country’s healthcare system.

There is overwhelming evidence that the Midwifery Model of Care- which provides a continuity of care- or- the same provider who sees you throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum, is linked with better outcomes. People feel safe with those they have a trusting relationship with, and midwives are better able to offer tailored, individualized care when we intimately know the families we are working with.


For example: if I have been palpating someone’s belly for 6 months and know their baby hangs out on their right side, I usually don’t have to fumble and prod and take too long to find and assess fetal heart tones in labor. This can be comforting to a laboring mother, and allow her to continue laboring without too much of an interruption in her physiological process.


Some of what makes hospital births more readily covered by most insurance companies is that they are staffed by hundreds of people and this enormous system is able to churn out dozens of births each day, covering many of the clinical aspects of care but often dismissing the spiritual and emotional aspects of the birth experience.


Some people are surprised when, even after birthing at a hospital, they get a pretty large bill in the mail. Depending on an individual’s insurance and birth experience, they may still be required to pay a few thousand dollars for a birth.


In my experience, insurance companies do not want to cover home births. But with licensure and popularity growing, they are beginning to recognize and reimburse for people seeking care outside if this system.


I work with an amazing biller who does the “dirty” work of calling, waiting on hold, taking notes, filing and keeping track of claims. I keep a careful record of all my prenatal and postpartum visits, bloodwork, how many minutes a client labors in a birth tub…etc. and submit that to her once a client births. She then goes and fights to get clients reimbursed for their care.


This means that families are expected to pay their midwives up front, and then are reimbursed in the postpartum time.


An uncomplicated vaginal birth in a hospital runs about $14,000. Many local midwives charge between $5000-$7000. And we come to your home.


Just like when people ask me when their babies will come, I don’t know exactly how the insurance game will play out.


Depending on the insurance policy and the birth experience, families may expect a few hundred to a few thousand dollars back, but it’s hard to predict.


A good first step I counsel families to do is reach out to my biller and have her do an initial search to see what might be possible or expected.


Then we can go from there. I do offer payment plans for all of the families I work with.


If you would like to reach out and schedule a consult, please email me!


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