This week, one of my local birth centers is facing the possibility of closing. And for what? The higher ups don't see it as financially sustainable, that it doesn't have a high usage rate and to them, isn't needed. To those of us who have been there, seen and experienced the miracles that happen there every day, we know how needed this center is. So what are we doing? We are pushing back and hoping it doe something.
There is power in our voices. They can calm our children, brighten someone's day, invoke change.
Whether it is asking for a product to be carried at your favorite store or pleading for a beloved community resource to be spared, our voices matter. Maybe I have been watching too many political dramas, but call me crazy to think that our voices could bring change to how women are served and treated when having their babies.
Today I want to touch on bringing your voice to your insurance company. Most of my clients have insurance but pay for my services out of pocket. For those who have Health Savings accounts, doula care is an accepted expense. Some insurance companies have started to cover doulas and I think more should get on board. The average cost for a vaginal delivery is around $30K, give or take depending on your state and facility used. Research has proven that having a doula on one's birth team helps reduce the need for pain medication, decreases labor times and lowers the probability of cesarean section; rates of postpartum issues also decline which help mom and baby in the long run. Why should this matter to an insurance company? Doulas save them money. But this fact alone won't get them on the bandwagon. You, the consumer, need to use your voice and ask for it to be a priority. I tell my clients to check with their insurance companies if they cover doula care and if not, they should write them and ask them to make it a covered benefit. Even if you know your insurance doesn't, write them anyway. I will also throw this out there for those wanting midwifery care. I have spoken with many women would love to have a midwife but paying for the expense out of pocket makes it an option that some can't afford (the average home birth is around $4,500).
If you have used a doula in the past, write your insurance executives and let them know your experience. If you are wanting doula care, write your insurance carrier and let them know how a doula on your team can help you and them at the same time. Maybe even taking it a step further and writing members of your state congress to look deeper into the care that birthing women and families receive and why it needs a reform.
One candle won't light up a dark room, but thousands will.