- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Officials say a major insurance company is joining Louisiana Medicaid in refusing to pay for early C-sections or induced deliveries unless a doctor says they’re needed for a mother’s or baby’s health.

Officials from Blue Cross and Blue Shield joined state health Secretary Kathy Kliebert on Wednesday to say the company is no longer covering early deliveries scheduled by choice rather than medical need.

Louisiana’s Medicaid program began refusing to cover such deliveries in July.

South Carolina’s Medicaid and Blue Cross made similar changes two years ago.

A full-term pregnancy is 39 or 40 weeks. State health officials say deliveries by choice before that can risk the baby’s health unnecessarily.

State Medicaid medical director Rebekah Gee says Louisiana women consistently have the nation’s highest or second-highest cesarean section rate.

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