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The Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996

The Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996 (the Newborns’ Act) requires plans that offer maternity coverage to pay for at least a 48-hour hospital stay following childbirth. In the case of a cesarean section, the Newborns’ Act requires plans that offer maternity coverage to pay for at least a 96-hour hospital stay following childbirth.

Prohibition on Plan Incentives for Early Release

The Newborns’ Act, and its regulations, prohibit incentives (either positive or negative) that could encourage less than the minimum protections under the Act as described above. For example, a mother cannot be encouraged to accept less than the minimum protections available to her under the Newborns’ Act. Similarly, an attending provider cannot be induced to discharge a mother or newborn earlier than 48 or 96 hours after delivery.


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