Vermont will soon join a handful of other states to require private health insurers to cover the services of midwives and home birth.
Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill yesterday saying access to midwifery care and home birth should not be limited only to those who can afford those services out of pocket.
He and others say the change will hold down health care expenses.
But the Vermont Medical Society and some insurance companies say the change actually could lead to higher costs if a mother must be transferred from home to a hospital because of problems during birth.
Shumlin says New Hampshire and New York have similar laws.
Currently, the state’s health insurance program for low-income Vermonters covers home births attended by licensed midwives.