Are you expecting a baby and worried about the financial burden of prenatal care and hospital expenses? Pregnancy insurance can provide you with peace of mind by minimizing these costs. Without maternity insurance, you could end up spending anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000. In 2011, the average cost of labor and delivery in a hospital was $10,657, and this cost can increase even further by 50% or more if you have an emergency or scheduled C-section. Any complications during childbirth can also significantly raise the expenses.
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How to Obtain Pregnancy Insurance
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, significant changes have been made to health insurance, including maternity coverage. All qualified health plans, both in-market and out-of-market, are now required to offer maternity care and delivery benefits.
Before the Affordable Care Act, only a few insurance plans automatically included maternity coverage. In some cases, this coverage had to be added separately. Additionally, if a woman tried to apply for maternity coverage after becoming pregnant, it was often unavailable or more expensive.
Fortunately, pregnancy coverage has become more accessible. If you do not have health coverage through your employer, Medicaid, or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), you can find an insurance plan through the Marketplace. For more information on obtaining health coverage through the Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov.
If you already have health insurance, it is important to determine whether your plan is grandfathered. Grandfathered plans are those that were in effect on March 23, 2010, and have not been significantly altered to affect consumer benefits or the cost of insurance.
Individual plans purchased outside of employment-based plans are not required to provide maternity and childbirth benefits. If your plan is grandfathered, contact your insurance company to determine the coverage you have.
Medicaid Pregnancy Insurance for Pregnant Women
If you do not have coverage through the Marketplace or employer, another option is to apply for Medicaid and/or CHIP to cover maternity and childbirth benefits. Eligibility is based on income requirements, which vary by state and differ for Medicaid and CHIP.
In addition, several states have expanded their income requirements. This means that even if you did not previously qualify, you may now be eligible. You can apply for these programs at any time during the year.
Health Care Discount Programs for Maternity Coverage
One discount service worth considering is Ameriplan. Available in all states except Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming, Ameriplan can reduce the cost of health care services by up to 50% or even more in some cases. The benefits include physician, hospital, and ancillary services such as lab work, tests, and x-rays. Ameriplan covers all pre-existing conditions except ongoing orthodontic treatment. There are no deductibles, waiting periods, claim forms, or annual limits. For more information, visit ameriplanusa or call toll-free at (800) 647-8421.
Managing Costs without Maternity Insurance
If you do not have maternity insurance, there are still ways to manage the costs related to prenatal care and labor:
- If you are giving birth in a hospital, contact the accounting office to inquire about setting up a payment plan or whether they offer a sliding scale. Many people are unaware of these options, but they can be beneficial.
- Consider giving birth in a birthing center if you do not have a high-risk pregnancy. The estimated cost of delivery and prenatal care in a birthing center is typically $3,000 to $4,000, which is substantially lower than in a hospital. Birthing centers often offer sliding scales, payment plans, and accept Medicaid.
Want to Know More?
If you want to learn more about pregnancy and childbirth, the following resources can provide you with further information:
- Maternity center
- Creating your birth plan
- Understanding a high-risk pregnancy
This article was compiled using information from various sources, including Birth Connection, eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., and the U.S. Medicare Centers & Medicaid Services.