While it’s a given that most people view pregnancy and having babies as a wonderful thing, the cost issues involved can sometimes be overwhelming. Making matters worse is the fact that comparing health insurance for pregnant women is no easy task. A mother who has health insurance before she becomes pregnant usually has no insurance issues. However, when a woman is without insurance at the time of her pregnancy, it is another ballgame entirely.
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If a woman is pregnant and without good health coverage, she is in a position of wanting to ensure the health of her baby, but not necessarily has the money to pay for it. The good news is there are a limited number of programs designed to help those mothers who are in genuine need. These programs are not a substitute for proper health insurance for those who can afford it, but they are a great help for those who cannot.
What are my resources for comparing health insurance if I am pregnant?
The time to think about health insurance, if you plan to have children, is before pregnancy. That’s because once you are pregnant, your options will be limited. Most health insurance companies will not cover pregnancy if you attempt to sign up for policy after you become pregnant. That leaves you with the federal Medicaid program or a state run insurance program specifically for pregnant women. These programs have income requirements – but they are fairly liberal and most women will qualify.
With both options, the point of your comparison is really to find out what each program covers for maternity care and what it requires of you. For example, California’s Santa Clara County administers a state Medicaid program for pregnant women known as the Income Disregard Program. This program offers no-cost health insurance to most pregnant women in the county. There are income limits and other requirements that must be met as determined by the county and state.
Does Medicaid have to cover my pregnancy if I qualify?
According to Medicaid guidelines, there are a handful of mandatory eligibility groups that must be covered by any state program administering Medicaid dollars. One of those groups is pregnant women. That means if you qualify for Medicaid in general, the insurance will have to also provide for your pregnancy. Keep in mind that coverage only begins on the first day your pregnancy is diagnosed; it won’t cover bills you may have incurred in the three months prior.
Also, keep in mind that not everyone qualifies for Medicaid. Current income is only one part of the equation; the government also looks at your assets and potential sources of income. For example, if you live below the poverty line because of chronic unemployment, yet you live in a $1 million home you inherited from your grandparents, you probably won’t qualify for Medicaid because of the fact that you could sell that home and use the money to purchase a standard policy.
Why can’t I get private health insurance after I become pregnant?
If you attempt to purchase private coverage after you become pregnant, your health insurance company will most likely see the pregnancy as a pre-existing condition and refuse to cover it. This may sound cruel to many people, but that’s only because they don’t understand how insurance works. If an insurance company does not protect itself against financial loss, it goes out of business. It’s as simple as that. In terms of pregnancies, covering them after-the-fact is a good recipe for disaster.
Consider the fact that any insurance company that offered to cover pregnancy is as a pre-existing condition is potentially inviting large numbers of women to purchase the insurance once they find out they’re pregnant and then drop it after the baby is born. Considering the average pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, and most mothers would pay premiums of only $5,000 or $6,000 during pregnancy, the insurance company that did this would quickly be out of business.
Things become more costly when there are complications. Can you imagine the financial loss your insurance company would incur if you purchased a policy in the third month of pregnancy and the baby were born premature? In order for insurance coverage to remain fiscally responsible, they must collect enough in premiums to earn a profit on their investments. Covering pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy make that almost impossible.
If you’re a young woman planning to have children, now is the time to look at online health insurance rates – enter your ZIP code below and get started right now.