If you’ve recently found out that your wife is pregnant and you don’t currently have health insurance that feeling of overwhelming joy might have soon given way to a sinking feeling. Pregnancy is expensive, with monthly trips to the OB/GYN, even more appointments to sonogram technicians, and of course the delivery. The medical bills amount to a small fortune for just a typical pregnancy with no complications. It’s not recommended to attempt pregnancy without insurance, you can find out more here.
Not long ago, pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition for which insurers could deny coverage. Believe it or not, even the husband of a pregnant woman could be denied coverage. One reason for this is that certain state laws required insurance companies to automatically add their insured’s children once they are born.
Treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition gave the insurance companies an out when expecting parents would apply for coverage. Couples planning on having children used to have to plan ahead and make sure they were properly covered before getting pregnant.
All of this changed in the U.S. with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Before 2014, employers were not obligated to provide maternity coverage to pregnant women in their healthcare plans. Now, health plans must cover pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy. So, now that pre-existing conditions are covered, this means that pregnant women (and their spouses) cannot be denied coverage as a result of their pregnancy.
So now that you know you can get health insurance, what kind of health insurance should you look into? If you’re in between jobs, you can look into a COBRA program. Even if you started a new job, many employers require a waiting period before your health benefits kick in. COBRA coverage can help you bridge this gap. However, businesses with less than 20 employees are not required to provide COBRA coverage. Also, COBRA plans can be pricey. You’ll end up paying just as much in administrative fees as you will in premiums.
If you qualify, government assistance is another option. Medicaid is a government-run medical care program for low-income individuals. Medicaid provides free or low-cost healthcare services to eligible families. Some states offer medically needy programs for pregnant women, which provides coverage for women who don’t qualify based on income, but have high medical costs due to their condition.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is another option for low-income families. WIC is a Federal program that provides supplemental food, healthcare referrals, and education for pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women.
Of course, the best option for pregnant women and their husbands is group healthcare coverage through their employer, if it’s available to you. These plans tend to be the best as far as options and premium costs go. And now that pregnancy is no longer considered a pre-existing condition, you can sign on at any time. If your company offers a group healthcare plan, contact your supervisor or human resources representative as soon as possible and ask about the plans they offer.