Under the above federal law, group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group health insurance coverage generally:
- May not restrict benefits for any hospital length of stay in connection with childbirth for the mother or newborn child to less than 48 hours following a vaginal delivery, or less than 96 hours following a delivery by cesarean section. However, the plan or issuer may pay for a shorter stay if the attending provider (e.g., your physician, nurse, midwife, or physician assistant), after consultation with the mother, discharges the mother or newborn earlier;
- May not set the level of benefits or out-of-pocket costs so that any later portion of the 48-hour (or 96-hour) stay is treated in a manner less favorable to the mother or newborn than any earlier portion of the stay; and
- May not require that a physician or other health care provider obtain authorization for prescribing a length of stay of up to 48 hours (or 96 hours).
However, to use certain providers or facilities, or to reduce your out-of-pocket costs, you may be required to obtain pre-certification. For information on precertification, please refer to the applicable Medical Plan.