Insurance companies rejecting and raising premiums for women with history of cesarean

I had planned on writing about something else today, but this infuriates me so much I felt compelled to write about it. I have seen several other great blog entries in the last day or two, but the more we can put light on this issue the better!

There was a recent article in the NYT that discusses ICAN’s monitoring of a new trend with insurance companies: refusing to provide adequate health coverage to women who have had a cesarean. Insurance companies like Golden Rule and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida are either denying women individual health insurance or are raising their premiums 25% for five years! But the real shocker, to me at least, is that these women are being told that to gain eligibility for health coverage and keep their premiums lower is to be sterilized! How in the world is this being allowed to happen?

Most women do not want to have surgery. Most women do not want to have a cesarean, let alone multiple cesareans. But with the cesarean rate at 30.1% in 2007, this is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid. Pam Udy, President of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) says, ” Most women are looking to avoid cesareans. But physicians often make surgery difficult to avoid by insisting on non-evidence based practices. These care practices serve the system well, but not mothers and babies.” These practices include inducing for going post-dates, inducing for suspected large baby, requiring fasting during labor, requiring women to be confined to bed for continuous fetal monitoring, and failing to offer continuous support to a mother in labor.

So about 30% of women giving birth in this country will have a c-section. The vast majority of these women will have a c-section that is deemed medically necessary, whether it becomes necessary through a real danger to mom or baby, or if it becomes necessary through medical intervention. Add to this the fact that so many physicians and hospitals won’t allow a VBAC and what choice do women have? Well apparently sterilization. When one woman, Peggy Robertson of Colorado, finally learned the reason she was denied health insurance was her previous cesarean, she was told that the only way to get coverage was surgical sterilization. Nice.

Whether or not you have had a cesarean, this really affects us all. If you want to do something contact your state and national representatives!

Contact Information for:

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

State Representatives (Box on left side, enter zip code)

State Insurance Commissioners

Also please visit for more information and letter templates for contacting your representatives.

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