An issue brief released yesterday by leading advocacy groups National Partnership for Women and Families and Choices in Childbirth calls on government agencies and private insurance organizations to provide coverage for doula service, citing the proven health benefits, lowered maternity care costs, and no known risks to using a doula. Currently, only two states (Minnesota and Oregon) have passed legislation to obtain doula reimbursement, but to date few reimbursements have actually occurred.
At Lamaze and on Giving Birth with Confidence, we frequently tout the benefits of having continuous support from a doula at your birth, but we also understand that paying out of pocket for a doula can be a barrier to having one. Consider then, how incredibly relieving it would be to know that your insurance or Medicaid covered the cost of hiring a doula! Not only would you have one less financial burden to worry about, but you would have guaranteed peace of mind knowing that by having a doula at your birth, you were lowering your risks of interventions and cesarean, and improving your chance for a healthier, more positive birth experience.
The National Partnership for Women and Families and Choices in Childbirth are calling upon state and federal government agencies and insurance companies to make changes -- and we need YOUR HELP to make these changes reality. The louder and stronger the voices, the more likely it is that change will occur. Here's how you can help:
- Share this information via Facebook and Twitter. Find shareable images here. Below are sample posts:
Insurance coverage of #doula care can improve #maternal outcomes. Read more: npwf.info/cover_doula #childbirth
The benefits of doula care include better health outcomes for mom and baby and reduced health care costs. Read more about why insurance coverage for doula care is so important in the new issue brief from Childbirth Connection and Choices in Childbirth: http://npwf.info/cover_doula
- Write a blog post talking about the issue and asking others to help.
- Share the issue brief, executive summary and infographic with your state legislators. To find contact information for your state legislators, Google your state + "legislators."
- Send the brief to a leader in your insurance plan who helps make coverage decisions. To find the appropriate contact, check out your insurance company's website or talk to your human resources contact.
- If you work for a large company that negotiates health insurance benefits, share the brief with the relevant HR people, and ask them to secure doula care reimbursement.
For more information, check out the main landing page on Childbirth Connection, or click on any of the links below.
Bonus: Continuous Support for Women During Labor
Full current Cochrane Review (PDF)