Letter: Health insurers neglect mothers

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The Independent Online
Health insurers neglect mothers

Sir: The choice of the Secretary of State for Health's wife to deliver her third child in an NHS hospital is highly commendable. Your article (5 March) mentions that the family has private health insurance but put its faith in the state's healthcare system.

This is fortunate because if Mrs Dorrell had chosen to exercise her option to have private maternity care and delivery, she would discover that her private healthcare insurance does not cover women for the cost of normal pregnancy. Only Caesarian section deliveries are reimbursed by private healthcare insurance. This comes as a great surprise to the majority of insured patients and is different from the situation in most other European countries.

Insurers may argue that pregnancy is not an illness, but it is a major healthcare event in the lives of many women. The healthcare insurance industry should make provision for women to be able to exercise their choice.

ROBERT FORMAN MD MRCOG

Medical Director

Centre for Reproductive Medicine

London W1

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