Insurers Amend Perinatal Policy: Independence Blue Cross and Pennsylvania Blue Shield will introduce a new option to allow pregnant women to choose a 24- or 48-hour hospital stay after delivery, in a preemptive strike at federal and state legislation designed to prevent insurers from limiting the length of hospital care. Independence Blue Cross, which serves Philadelphia’s five counties, and Pennsylvania Blue Shield said the plan is available immediately to members who have routine deliveries. The move is seen by analysts as an effort to soften a backlash against health maintenance organizations that seek to cut costs by limiting hospital stays to 24 hours. New Jersey and Maryland have already passed legislation requiring firms to cover a minimum stay of 48 hours after vaginal births and 96 hours after Cesarean sections.
<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>