Maternity Coverage: Does Your Insurance Have You Covered?
The ACA means maternity coverage is better than it has been before, but there are still a few things you need to look out for when expecting a baby.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! We hope this time is one of the best times of your life, but understand it can also be kind of scary and full of anxiety-ridden unknowns. When others tell you that your life will change forever once the child is born, believe them. Bringing a baby into your life will change how you look at the world, how you make decisions, and how you live day to day.
Pregnancy and birth, while amazing and natural, are still medical concerns. Therefore, one way to help prepare for all the other changes ahead is to make sure you are covered for the medical part of maternity care. It is important to know what your current insurance covers if it complies with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and if you can obtain maternity coverage once you are pregnant if you do not already have it.
You should also prepare for any changes pregnancy and a baby may have on your homeowners, life, and even auto insurance. While you cannot prepare for every aspect of a new baby, you can prepare for insurance needs before, during, and after the birth of your baby.
What Does the Affordable Care Act Mandate for Maternity Coverage?
The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to provide preventative maternity care at no cost to expectant mothers. The ACA mandates individual insurance plans and small employer insurance plans provide services to pregnant moms for no out-of-pocket fee. However, it also requires the newborn babies and moms receive post-partum care at no cost.
The services provided by the ACA include:
Prescription Prenatal Vitamins.
Breastfeeding Supplies, Including Breast Pumps.
Prenatal Screenings, such as Tests for Anemia, Gestational Diabetes, Hepatitis B, and Rh Incompatibility.
Nursing and Feeding Support Services.
Smoking Cessation Services.
However, not all plans have to comply with maternity care as offered through the ACA. First, any health plan created and implemented before the passage of the ACA is part of the grandfathered clause. These plans are grandfathered into regulations that allow them to remain non-compliant with the ACA maternity guidelines.
Additionally, temporary insurance plans do not need to comply with the ACA maternity guidelines.
Therefore, it is best to consult with an experienced health insurance agent to review your insurance plan and ensure they abide by ACA maternity guidelines.
Can You Get Maternity Coverage If You Are Already Pregnant?
Before the passing of the ACA, pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies had the right to deny insurance coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition, including pregnancy. If they chose to provide coverage for your pregnancy, they had the right to charge you exorbitant rates to cover the expenses.
The ACA put an end to many of the issues relating to pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are no longer permitted to deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition. They must cover all related issues for those conditions. Furthermore, they cannot charge you higher premiums to provide coverage for your pre-existing condition.
In addition to these changes, the ACA prohibits insurance companies from classifying pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Therefore, pregnant women are covered as any other woman is covered.
So a pregnant woman without insurance coverage can obtain maternity coverage even while she is pregnant. She will pay the same premium as any woman of her age who is not pregnant.
How Will Maternity Affect Other Insurance Policies?
As mentioned, having a baby changes everything. It even changes insurance needs and concerns. You may find you need additional coverages or more coverage. Some of these insurance changes may include the following:
Life Insurance changes may occur in two ways. First, you may want to up your life insurance policy to provide a higher benefit to your family if you die. You also may want to update your beneficiary to include your new baby.
However, you may also want to purchase life insurance for your newborn. Many times, parents will purchase a whole life insurance policy for a newborn child. The premiums are very inexpensive at that age. Once it matures, the money can get transferred to another type of policy or used to help pay for college and other expenses.
Homeowner’s Insurance protects your home and its contents. When you have a new baby, you want to protect the additional stuff you collect for your baby, particularly if you have received big ticket item gifts or valuable heirlooms. You will need to increase your insurance coverage or add a rider to your policy to protect the added items.
You will also want to consider saving money as well. The best way to accomplish this with insurance is to attempt to bundle your insurance products. You can bundle your car insurance with your homeowner's policy to save money on your monthly or annual premiums.
Car Insurance covers your vehicle. However, having a baby means you may want to purchase a bigger or safer car. This purchase will increase the premiums you pay for insurance. One way to help cut the premium expenses is to bundle your car insurance with your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy.
Travel Insurance helps you get your money back when you cannot travel due to medical or other reasons out of your control. Being pregnant means things can change at a moment's notice. If you are planning a trip, purchase travel insurance if you are pregnant and note that many airlines have restrictions on flying during the end stages of pregnancy. There is always a chance you will be unable to enjoy your trip because of complications or the baby coming early (or late). Make sure you do not lose the trip and the money.
Maternity Insurance is a right under the Affordable Care Act. You are entitled to services to protect you and your unborn child before, during, and after pregnancy.