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How to figure out if insurance covers birth center? 
19th-Dec-2012 10:15 pm [birth centers, insurance]
Tohru
I'm 18w pregnant with my first, and I would like to transfer to the freestanding birth center across the street from the hospital in my city. However, I will be getting the paperwork for my new employer-provided insurance in a few days, and I know nothing about what it will cover as far as that goes. I know that it covers the traditional maternity stuff very well, as many co-workers have raved about how great it is, but they were all happy to stick with the classic hospital setting.

So my question is, what wording should I look for in the paperwork to find out if it's gonna cover the birth center? Or do I have to call? I've never had insurance that covered *any* maternity stuff, so I don't really know what I'm doing here :/ If I can avoid calling and talking to someone, I would like to. I have moderate social anxiety and phone calls make it waaaay worse :(
Comments 
20th-Dec-2012 04:18 am (UTC)
Definitely call. The wording might appear to be clear as day, but insurance companies often only provide information in brochures about the most commonly used services, and sometimes change their policies without updating their website, etc. Call, and then ask them to confirm whatever they tell you in writing.
20th-Dec-2012 04:20 am (UTC)
You will most likely have to call. My insurance information, even though it was like 50+ pages, was very general and I've always had to call for specifics.
20th-Dec-2012 04:21 am (UTC)
Oops didn't mean to reply to you, lol
20th-Dec-2012 04:30 am (UTC)
I figured - np.
20th-Dec-2012 04:24 am (UTC)
Some insurance companies have info like that online.

Another thing you could do is ask a co worker.

And finally, you could go in to the birth center and tell them you are interested in having your baby there. Then you can show them your insurance card and ask if they take it.
20th-Dec-2012 04:36 am (UTC)
Having worked in health insurance and now working in auto insurance - always call. Document who you talked to, when and what they said .
So yes you should call.
20th-Dec-2012 05:28 am (UTC)
Some places have websites you can log into, enter the name of the birthing center and see if it's covered. If your company is large enough to have a HR department you can try asking there, too. If you don't want to call you can try to look on the insurance website (assuming they have one) to see if there's an e-mail address or an option to "chat live with a representative" (I had one insurance plan with that -- it was cool). The birthing center might take the insurance, but that doesn't mean the insurance takes them (if that makes sense). You can try to ask the birthing center to call to verify your benefits before you switch. Otherwise yeah, you'd just have to call. Or bribe another female friend to call and ask for you ;)
20th-Dec-2012 05:48 am (UTC)
i would call the birth center - if you want to go there you are going to have talk to them anyway - they usually know the plans and have people in their office that can call the insurance company and find out all the details.
congrats and good luck!
20th-Dec-2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
I second the birth center. They're good at knowing who covers them. Calling your insurance company won't hurt, either, but you'd get a faster response and from the birth center, and if not, they could give you recommendations of OBs that they prefer in the area.
20th-Dec-2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
Definitely call. Fed BC/BS has a lookup system online, which is how I verified my freestanding birth center's eligibility, but if you don't have that available (or can't find it), I'd call them up. Or have your partner call. ;)

You can also walk in and see if they take the insurance, and if not, you might be able to get other options from them if you're definitely set on birthing there instead of a hospital.

Good luck! :)
21st-Dec-2012 02:20 am (UTC)
The birth center I'm going to advertised that they took my insurance, so the next thing I did was call the insurance company and also checked the website. I also confirmed with the birth center how they billed. My insurance covers my prenatals like office visits (I have a $35 specialist copay) and then my labor/delivery is 80%/20% (with my portion maxing out at $4k, but it's unlikely I'll hit that). Also, the birth center may have a registration fee/non-refundable deposit. I had to pay $650 to secure my place which isn't covered by insurance. (That made me so nervous to do, it's a lot of money for us, but when I did the math I figured out that even with that, it'd be cheaper than a hospital birth).

Sorry it's tough to call, but this is really something you don't want to not have all your ducks in a row. I'm still half-paranoid that there's going to be some major financial surprise and I'll end up in tears for the next six months... (I have depression/anxiety and these preggo hormones ARE NOT HELPING nnnngh).
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