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Do I need maternity health insurance?

woman with baby seeks maternity health insuranceYes! The estimated cost for delivery of your baby, alone, is between six and eight thousand dollars. This estimate is based on a normal, uncomplicated delivery. If there are complications during pregnancy or a high-risk delivery becomes necessary, the costs can be much, much higher.

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Proper prenatal care is also necessary to insure a safe and healthy delivery for your child as well as to give your baby the best and most healthful start in life. These additional expenses, for expectant mothers, will mount up during a normal term, nine-month pregnancy.

Maternity health insurance programs cover prenatal care, delivery costs and post delivery check-ups and visits for both the new mother and her baby. In emergency or critical care situations such as premature births, insurance provides young families’ protection against the costs of extended treatment and hospital stays, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars!

What organizations are available to help me?

The American Pregnancy Association, (APA) is one of many web-based organizations that provide helpful educational materials and other resources for pregnant women. The APA began in 1995 as a telephone helpline established by a couple seeking information on adoption. Soon, there were thousands of callers looking for educational materials and information about a wide variety of topics dealing with pregnancy, wellness, and other related health matters. Health care professionals signed on to give competent, free advice.

In its first nine years, the fledgling Helpline organization helped over 147 thousand women and families in the United States, and in more than 70 other nations. In 2003, the Helpline became the American Pregnancy Association.

According to the APA, of the more than 16,000 women that become pregnant in the U.S. each day, 1,200 or 7% are uninsured, while 13% of women who become pregnant each year, either lack maternity coverage or have no health insurance at all.

Why isn’t maternity covered under some policies?

Maternity is often considered a “pre-existing condition” for newly insured women and therefore not covered by many private insurance companies.

Where can I find maternity coverage?

Medicaid is a federally funded, state administered healthcare program that provides services to low income individuals and families, including pregnant women. Other state or locally funded programs may be available and can be researched in your area by contacting your local or state Department of Health.

WIC, Women, Infants and Children, is a federal agency that provides grant money to states for health care and referrals. Funds are used to promote proper nutrition and to educate low-income women who are pregnant, or have recently given birth. WIC targets women and children up to age five, who might be at risk and in need of diet and nutritional assistance.

Of course, prior to becoming pregnant, women may find health coverage through traditional employer groups or other private health care companies. Recent legislative changes, like the Affordable Care Act, have made insurance more accessible for younger adults, those most likely to become pregnant and require maternity care services.

Extending a child’s health coverage, under a family program until age 27, is one provision of this bill that has had a positive impact on a vulnerable segment of our population, young mothers and their children.

What is the Affordable Care Act?

In just a year and a half, the Affordable Care Act has directly benefited more than a million young adults, including many new families and pregnant women. This legislation, initiated by the Obama administration, is just part of a sweeping healthcare reform program that the President would like to enact during his current term of office.

The main provisions of this bill aim at reducing medical costs while protecting the rights of consumers in their efforts to obtain affordable and effective healthcare and insurance coverage.

Other provisions include:

  • Implementation of a “Patient’s Bill of Rights,” that prohibits companies from denying benefits to children with pre-existing conditions and eliminates lifetime coverage limits.
  • Holding insurance companies accountable for effective spending, eliminating waste and trimming administrative and marketing costs
  • Creating new low-cost program options for those who are presently uninsured, young adults and those who face early retirement and are not yet eligible for Medicare
  • Strengthening and reforming government run Medicare and Medicaid programs so they can operate more efficiently and reach more consumers in need of coverage
  • Reduce abuses in the system including fraud and other wasteful practices
There are many options for women for obtaining health insurance coverage. So, if you are of child bearing age, it’s just a good idea to find a health insurance policy that offers these benefits. You can look to various organizations, government programs, or online search tools for help and information. Health insurance is changing, and your needs will too. If you think maternity health insurance might be an issue, then the time to look for it is now.

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