Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Petiton to support health coverage for home birth

I have been personally asked to pass this along, a petition to sign in defense of a woman whose health coverage does not include homebirth midwifery. For so many of us who have been there, this might be right up your alley. There is a lot of sticky-tricky stuff when it comes to midwives being "able to" accept health insurance, etc, which can lead to legislation that might not be favorable to the traditional midwifery model, requiring independant midwives to carry unaffordable liability insurance, etc...but check this out, read it, and sign it or pass it along if you can

They’re planning a support rally for her for the actual appeal hearing, but they want to show that there is national support for this coverage - please sign the below petition and be sure that the SEIU hears your voice!
Contact: Kelly Renn, kelly @ 212-867-9646
Afternoon Hearing Will Determine Coverage for Union Employee’s Wife; New York State Law Covers But SEIU Rejects
NEW YORK – Choices in Childbirth, a New York City nonprofit that helps women make informed maternity decisions, is holding a rally to support a 3:00 PM hearing for Julie Finefrock. Ms. Finefrock is six months pregnant and medically eligible for a home-birth, which she has chosen for herself and her baby, but for which she has been denied coverage by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Ms. Finefrock’s husband is an SEIU employee and she is appealing her denial of coverage.
Under New York state law, Ms. Finefrock would have the benefit of medical insurance coverage, yet SEIU, because it provides a self-insured health policy to its members, has found a loophole to exclude coverage for planned homebirth care via the Employee Retirement Income Support Act (ERISA). This federal law sets minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans in private industry. Ms. Finefrock is asking SEIU to give her parity with non-union NY State residents and allow her to choose the medical care that evidence has shown is both safer and more economical than hospital birth.
Choices in Childbirth has unfortunately found a growing number of self-insured corporations using this ERISA loophole. It is Choices in Childbirth’s belief that New York State residents deserve equal coverage regardless of their employment situation, and encourages the SEIU to support appropriate maternity care in line with that of New York State law.
WHAT: Rally in support of appeal to the SEIU to cover home births, as New York State law permits
WHERE: Outside SEIU 32BJ, 101 Avenue of the Americas
WHEN: Wednesday, March 18th at 11:30–1:30; hearing is at 3 pm
Choices in Childbirth
At Choices in Childbirth, our mission is to improve maternity care by providing the public, especially childbearing women and their families, with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth.


Kneelingwoman said...

I received the same "invitation" yesterday. I don't know ( which is what I told her in my return email ). I'm just not sure that supporting "health insurance" companies is what Midwifery needs to be about. I think it would be great if everyone had coverage; if the conversations about health care in Midwifery were inclusive of THAT goal but it's all about "homebirth" coverage that will not include most poor women, or women of color because most don't have private insurance. I would feel better if Midwifery were getting behind health care reform on a larger scale, and not just agitating for their own piece of the insurance pie. Too many Midwives are also "double dipping", a practice I find simply intolerable; billing insurance AND charging a cash fee to clients on top of that. A recent client of mine switched providers from someone who charged her$3000.00 and billed insurance, receiving another $5000.00, making her homebirth cost a grand total of $8000.00 Really? For a homebirth? This is progress????? I wish this were an isolated incident but I've heard that this is becoming standard practice in homebirth circles, not talked about too openly, of course. When I confronted one midwife about it, she stared blankly at me and said "But Doctors do this all the time!" SUCH a slippery slope... that excuse is being used more and more to justify all kinds of mischief as in, if Doctors "get away" with it, why not us? Let me count the ways...

New Space for Women's Health said...

I really appreciate your comments - I'm the one that sent the message. In this care, it's an issue of a company (a union, no less) using a federal loophole to subvert a really progressive NY state law that requires payment for homebirth - even Medicaid. it's just not fair that a union member doesn't get that same right.

I agree that there is absolutely a larger issue in terms of midwifery care, insurance reimbursement, etc, but meanwhile Julie (the mom who's fighting for coverage) can only afford a homebirth if her insurance company covers it. If we don't speak up for her because we are afraid of the larger issue, I fear that we'll lose the forest for the trees..

DoulaMomma said...

I'm going to post the info on my blog & will link back to you!

Kelley said...

I signed.