Covered California, the state’s insurance exchange, will exclude hospitals with high rates of C-sections in an effort to reduce the number of medically unnecessary cesarean births, which can be costly and carry higher risks for mother and baby.
Beginning in 2019, Covered California will require insurers on its exchange to exclude hospitals with a C-section rate above 23.9%. Insurers will have to document a rationale for doing business with hospitals that carry a higher rate.
The effort correlates with the federal government’s goal to trim the country’s C-section rate to 23.9% within the next few years. In 2014, 32.2% of U.S. births were C-sections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
California’s rates varied from 12% to 70% at hospitals across the state in 2014.