TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman, Senator Nia H. Gill, which would require insurers regulated by the State of New Jersey to make installment payments for maternity services in the Garden State was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 39-0.
“The current insurance reimbursement rules for maternity services in New Jersey allow medical professionals to administer services without ever being paid for those services,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. “Rather, under the current rules, health care professional who perform maternity services are only paid by the patient’s health insurance after the baby is delivered. That seems absolutely unfair to the professionals who do everything in their power to ensure a healthy delivery, and through this legislation, we would make sure that insurers reimburse ob-gyns and midwives throughout the course of a patient’s pregnancy.”
The bill, S-1125, would require all health insurers regulated by New Jersey to provide reimbursement in installments to an obstetrical provider licensed in New Jersey. The bill defines obstetrical providers as State-licensed obstetricians, gynecologists and midwives that are subject to State licensure or certification through the Board of Medical Examiners. Senator Gill noted that the bill does not issue specific requirements for installments payments, and that such details would be determined through regulation by the Department of Banking and Insurance.
Senator Gill added that under current regulations, the total cost of caring for a pregnant woman and her baby – estimated at between $2,500 and $3,000 – is not paid out until after the baby is delivered, meaning that an ob-gyn may provide up to nine months of care before receiving any payment from a patient’s insurance provider. If a woman suffers a miscarriage, is transferred to a specialist as a result of a high-risk pregnancy, or moves out of State before the baby is delivered, and transfers to another doctor, the original ob-gyn may receive no payment for the services provided, other than the co-pays paid by the patient. Senator Gill said that by changing to an installment plan for maternity services, these health care professionals could receive payment for services rendered and help ensure a reduction in New Jersey’s infant mortality rate.
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.