Most people assume that an expensive health insurance issue, such as maternity coverage, is automatically included on health insurance policies. You may be surprised to find that pregnancy/maternity expenses are not covered on all insurance policies, and in fact, can be a costly additional premium, or not available at all via many insurance companies.
How do you protect yourself, or your partner, if she is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant?
First, find out if your current health insurance includes maternity coverage. Most group plans through employers and organizations (churches, trade associations, chambers of commerce) do include this item, as a service to the participants. If it does include maternity expenses, you’re in the clear.
If you currently do not have insurance, or your insurance does not carry the maternity option, and you plan to start a family in the near future – you need get organized. As stated above, not all insurance companies offer the pregnancy option, and if they do it may be pricey and may include a waiting period of 3 months to one year before conception. So if possible, plan ahead before you become pregnant and are without insurance.
If you are already pregnant and do not have insurance, you are at an extreme disadvantage. You will probably have a very hard time finding an insurance company who will insure you, or may insure you, but will exclude any maternity costs. But, you do have a few options.
Because employers’ healthcare plans usually include maternity coverage, you may want to find a job with a decent insurance plan, just so you have some type of coverage. Before accepting a position, make sure that you will be eligible for maternity coverage immediately, as some policies have a 30-day waiting period before any employee is eligible for any type of coverage.
COBRA benefits from a previous job will cover you for eighteen months, as long as you apply for before the application period expires. This is generally an expensive option, but a better choice than not having any insurance. Talk to the Human Resources Department of your previous employer for more information regarding the COBRA plan.
State Medicaid offers medical insurance to pregnant women. There are stringent regulations regarding eligibility, so contact your local Department Health to inquire about Medicaid options.
If you are shopping for health insurance plans with maternity coverage, try QOOQe.com as they have some providers that can provide maternity coverage in addition to their regular coverage. As with any type of insurance policy, be sure to research it thoroughly before committing to anything.