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Health Insurance Overview

Health Insurance Overview

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Planning for your medical costs during pregnancy can feel overwhelming, and it may be difficult to determine what you are covered for when it comes to health insurance. Here are a few simple steps to minimize the stress of pregnancy medical insurance plans:

1) Get organized ahead of time. The best time to look for health insurance is before you become pregnant. Women who purchase health insurance after pregnancy may find that they are without coverage for a few months until the plan takes effect, which can add up to thousands of dollars in medical care. Prior to conception, begin researching medical plans, and look for one that suits your needs. If you are employed, find out what your employer offers in terms of health benefits, and decide if the plan is right for you. Also, ask about your company's maternity leave policies, as you will need to take time off for the birth of your baby.

2) Do not look only at pregnancy coverage. Many moms-to-be forget that a preconception exam is important, and that there could be numerous tests or procedures involved with getting pregnant. Find a plan that covers your preconception visits, as well as initial genetic testing.

3) What about pregnancy complications? No woman wants to think about having to undergo genetic testing, or to have an emergency Caesarean section during delivery. However, these things do happen, and many health insurance plans won't cover the cost of C-sections, certain prenatal visits, or lost income during bed rest. If you are already pregnant and decide to switch your insurance plan, make sure that your new coverage will protect you against a pre-existing condition. A lot of plans won't cover pre-existing conditions, and pregnancy falls into that category.

4) Explore your options. Low income families or women who do not have an insurance plan may be eligible for Medicaid or another state run programs. Ask about low-cost medical insurance, and see how much it would cost to cover your pregnancy. There is also a plan called COBRA that provides assistance if you are in between plans and are working a full time job.

5) Know your rights. Any medical plan that covers maternity must allow for a woman to stay up to 48 hours after a vaginal birth and 96 hours after a Caesarean section. However, any extended stay or follow up care may not be covered, so look for a plan that is more comprehensive when it comes to pregnancy, even if the initial cost is higher.


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