Your Insurance Company Doesn't Want You to Have a C-Section

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We have far too many interventions when it comes to birth, which can be one of the most natural things in the world. It's how us humans continue to populate the Earth. Most times we have sex the old fashioned way and therefore we can birth the way they did in olden times, too. Because it's human nature. But somewhere along the line we stopped trusting birth. Could you imagine if you stopped trusting sex? And had to have a doctor there to facilitate the experience ... with drugs?

I fault some of the medical community for poisoning our minds into thinking we need drugs to have our babies. And then we need more drugs. We need to schedule this. We need to get baby out now way before it's time. Let's schedule a c-section because the holiday is coming up and I want to go on vacation with my family so let's get this baby out.

Well, this just in! Insurance companies are basically telling hospitals to stop the c-section epidemic.

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If you didn't believe there is a c-section epidemic, this may convince you. Insurance companies, often known for giving us a hard time with pre-existing conditions and required referrals and all the scary "This Is Not A Bill" paperwork, are feeling that hospitals have gone overboard with this expensive procedure and they're saying it's far too often unnecessary. Aetna and Cigna are leading the way.

Okay, maybe you are thinking it's because they don't want to pay. And yes, that's part of it. But think about this: C-sections cost on average $24,300 while a vaginal birth is around $15,200. Meaning doctors and hospitals make more money off c-sections. A lot more. And the attending doctor is the one who makes the money. Hence the scheduling so your doc can be there and take home the cash. Vaginal births can happen at any time, naturally, and if your OBGYN has a vacation coming up around your due date, he or she won't get paid if your baby decides to come when that doc is beach-bound.

I know it's not always like that. Maybe your c-section was necessary. Very necessary. Mine was. I get it. We need that knowledge and cesareans do save lives. But things have gotten out of hand.

Interestingly, Aetna wants to adjust prices for c-sections. And Cigna is considering the same, along with giving bonuses to hospitals who reduce early cesareans and inductions. This is wonderful news. Incentive. And if it happens, and if more or all insurance companies follow, I really believe our c-section rate will decline to a number that makes sense.

I wonder if more homebirth coverage is next?
 

This isn't just about having a vaginal birth. This is about the safety and health of baby. It's been cited in a 2009 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that babies born at 38 weeks had twice the amount of medical problems compared to those born at 39 weeks. Every week is vital when in utero. The risk of complications at 37 weeks is nearly four times as much. 

One doctor is speaking out and making sense. Joshua Copel, who is now a Yale University professor and former president of the U.S. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, said: “For anything elective, most of us believe that 39 weeks and zero days is the absolute earliest any delivery should occur.”
 
I hope this becomes the standard once again.
 
What do you think of the stance Aetna and Cigna are taking with c-sections? Do you think this will curb the epidemic?

 

Image via one tiny spark/Flickr

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