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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-04-08

Insurance Denied to Women With C-Section History

Women who have had a Caesarean birth face higher insurance premiums, and have even been denied insurance all together. The New York Times reports that health insurance companies' policies regarding Caesarean births vary by company and state, but many insurance companies are exempting or imposing higher premiums on women who have had one.

Although the number of women affected by this policy is not currently known, the percentage is expected to rise as the number of women seeking individual health insurance rather than group coverage increases alongside the number of Caesarean births, which is currently at its all-time high at 31.1 percent of births.

Insurance companies in some states are allowed to deny men and women health coverage because of medical history, and while some ignore previous C-section births, others treat it as a pre-existing condition and may choose to charge up to 140 percent of regular rates.

Elizabeth Bonet, a Floridian who recently learned about the increased rates, was enraged when she heard that Blue Cross Blue Shield imposed the higher premiums. "It made me feel very helpless. These were not Caesareans I wanted. They were not elective Caesareans. I very much wanted natural births with both babies and was not able to have them, and to have to pay for that for years is outrageous, and I feel it's discriminatory as well."

Media Resources: New York Times 6/1/08; United Press International 6/1/08; Daily Women's Health Policy Report 6/3/08


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