The state is offering assistance to the centers, and other birthing support and care such as midwives.
New Hampshire has announced that they are offering insurance premium assistance to birthing centers and home birth midwives in order to help them to remain in business as rates skyrocket.
Malpractice coverage rates have gone through the roof, threatening many businesses in this sector.
According to a recent Seacoast Online article, one birthing care provider experienced a $40,000 per year spike in insurance premiums, representing a 250 percent increase over the previous year. The climbing cost of coverage has forced the Concord Birth Center to close next year.
Providers are required to have malpractice coverage in place in order to receive Medicaid reimbursement and to be able to obtain coverage from commercial insurers. When the cost of that coverage increases to the point that centers and practitioners cannot afford to pay it, they can be forced to shut down.
Public health officials have cautioned that the state can’t afford to have birthing centers and home birth midwives shut down their businesses. Since 2020, there have been 10 hospitals that have closed their delivery units, and another hospital is currently aligned to do the same. If that’s the case, there will be only 15 hospitals left in the state that deliver babies.
The state has voted to use $252,000 in federal pandemic aid to help offset insurance premium increases.
The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted 9-1 in favor of approving a Department of Health and Human Services request for the use of $252,000 in federal pandemic aid for offsetting those cost increases. Providers eligible for assistance could receive help for as much as 60 percent of their monthly insurance premiums.
The money isn’t immediately available to providers. The request from the Department of Health and Human Services needs one more approval from the Executive Council, which is expected to address it next week. Department spokesperson Jake Leon said that if a contract is required for the dispersal of the money, then that will also go before the council, and that will probably occur “in a few months’ time.”