New Hampshire Midwives Association

Insurance Coverage Action

Update: This is for the legislative battle for SB-131. Please help us to fight the battle for women to birth in the place of their choice -- including their home -- and have their insurance company pay for it. Below are the Committee members hearing the Bill, Tuesday, May 15. Please contact in the form of your choice (email, phone, or cards) as soon as possible to show your support.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H33

Update: A new bill has been filed in the Senate, a bill requiring insurance reimbursement for home births with a New Hampshire Certified Midwife. This bill will be coming out of legislative services shortly, and will be heard in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Consumer Protection committee. The bill is essentially the same language as the one passed last year, requiring the same coverage for NHCM's operating in a free standing birth center, but expands the place of service to include the home.

For more information, check the web page often, or contact Adrian at Adrian@birthcottage.com

You can see the previous law here: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2006/sb0175.html

We will begin launching a letter writing and phone calling campaign shortly- so please help where you can! It is imperative that the families of New Hampshire voice their opinions and be heard! Thank you!

Update: Since the passage of our bill into law in April 2006, we have begun working on the next phase of the insurance legislation.  As of September, a new bill will be introduced into the NH senate which will hopefully mandate the insurance companies to cover home births.  Now that midwives are recognized providers for insurance companies, expanding the place of service to include home births has become our focus.

We are going to require a lot of consumer support for this movement!  Our last legislative effort was made a tremendous success due to the hard work of the midwives, and just as important were the lobbying efforts of the clients and home birth families.  The legislature said it was the best run grass roots campaign some of them had ever seen... the hand written letters, the sincere phone calls, and the photos of the home born babies were a real hit with the legislators.

Please, sign up at the bottom here to be included in our newsletter and get updates for the efforts as they arise.  We promise not to give out any information for any purpose other than those for our own efforts.  We need your help, along side the midwives that serve all of us among this beautiful state of ours.  Please take a stand and make insurance companies pay for our births where we want them and with whom we choose!  We truly appreciate your support.

Adrian Feldhusen, NHCM, CPM
Secretary, NHMA and NH Midwifery Council

Update: Our fight for mandated third party reimbursement is going very well. We are through the Senate with a 22 to 2 win, and as of this writing are in sub committee for the House. Testimony was heard on April 12th by the Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives by several midwives, one of our friendly obstetricians, many, many Representatives and Senators in support of this bill, and a consumer speaking for the women. The halls were lined with women and babies, quietly boasting signs in support. The committee assigned it to a sub committee to review the details, and once they approve of it, the bill goes back to the committee for a vote. From there, on to the House for a full vote, and then to the Governor's desk.

The response we are getting from the majority of the  legislators is overwhelmingly positive.  At this point, we are working on the wording of the bill. The insurance companies have some strong opinions on carrying malpractice insurance in order to bill their companies. We are setting our sights on having that requirement dropped and incorporating informed consent in it's place. We shall see if this becomes a reality- but we are hoping!  Please come back often for updated information. Our next sub committee date is May 5th.
To contact your House Representative in your area, follow this link:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ns/whosmyleg/

Please ask them to support bill SB 175 requiring insurance companies to pay for midwifery services. The phone calls and personal letter writing campaign was our strongest asset! The members of the committee said it was the best organized, and most thoughtful campaign they had ever seen since being in office. I think that says a lot! They liked the hand written notes the best, they said. Much nicer than email and form letters, but if that is all you can do, then do it! Contact me at adrian@birthcottage.com for more information or to volunteer to help this campaign.

Adrian Feldhusen, NHCM, CPM
NHMA Secretary

Update: Our bill, SB 175 which we have been working on for a year and a half, now finally passed out of the House Commerce Committee earlier in December 2005 with a unanimous vote from the committee members.  We had to let go of the home birth part of it this time around, but the law in essence mandates all insurance carriers to pay for an out of hospital birth as long as it is in a licensed health care facility- a birth center in essence.  Some areas of the law are totally in our favor, which was the compromise.  We will be able to be network providers, a HUGE victory for midwives everywhere!  And they must reimburse us fairly, as in the same as other practitioners providing the same or similar services.

Because of the unanimous vote from the committee members, it did not go in front of the House of Representatives like it did last term.  Instead, it was on the Consent calendar, which means it crosses over to the Senate without a vote from the House at all.  Another victory.  Once in the Senate, the head of the original committee can either concur with the House recommendations, put it back for further study in the Senate, or can it all together.  Since this person who was in charge was one of only two in the Senate out of 24 who said " No" originally, we were sitting on pins and needles last week...

But he concurred last Wednesday, January 18, 2006, and it is DONE!  Celebration time!!!  We are through, it is being signed into law by the Governor as we speak.  In the fall of 2006, we will introduce the piece that will expand place of service to include home births, but at this point the expansion of providers being mandated by law is an incredible victory for women, babies, and midwives everywhere.  This law guarantees all women in New Hampshire the right to birth outside of the hospital and that their health insurance providers will pay for it.

I hope that everyone who has watched the progress of this bill, helped in any number of ways, or participated in the effort understands that it was all of US who made this happen- there wasn't a fancy lawyer hired to argue our case.  There wasn't an expensive lobbyist to talk to the legislators and lobbyists on the other side.  We did this, without a lot of money, without professional help, and with the sheer determination, will, and hard work that can only come from committed women and their families.  I am so proud of all of us- we took on the wealthiest industry in the nation, by ourselves, and WE WON!!!

Adrian Feldhusen, NHCM, CPM
Secretary, NHMA and NH Midwifery Council


Mailing lists: (Just click the link and hit send in your mail client -- the rest is automatic. You will receive confirmation of your subscription, and information about unsubscribing, from majordomo@nhmidwives.org)

Letter to Midwives

Letter to Midwifery Supporters

Consumer information from the State of New Hampshire Insurance Department

Consumer Complaint Form from State of NH Insurance Dept. (PDF, opens in new window)

Addresses to which you may wish to send complaint letters

Sample Letters:

Letters are in rich text format -- save them to your computer, make necessary changes, print, and send. Please read the documents carefully, as multiple changes will be necessary.

First level appeal of refusal to cover a NHCM's birth center birth

Second level appeal of refusal to cover a NHCM's birth center birth

Letter of Justification for Out of Hospital Birth


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