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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Maternity Insurance
Posted on Sep 25, 2014 by Ailee Slater
Wrapping your head around maternity coverage? Here are five things to keep in mind.
The decision to start or grow a family is filled with excitement, hope – and lots of planning to come. When maternity is on your mind, it’s essential to think about prenatal health care. New moms and dads will likely choose a comprehensive health insurance policy to ensure the pregnancy goes smoothly, but it’s not always easy to know what to look for in maternity coverage. For five things you really should consider, read on.
Maternity Coverage Doesn’t Start Immediately
If you’re considering pregnancy and you don’t already hold a health policy with maternity coverage, purchase that coverage as soon as possible. Most health insurance policies require a waiting period – usually eight to 12 months – before coverage for pregnancy related costs can begin.
Why the waiting period? Maternity care is expensive, and your need for coverage is virtually guaranteed. With a normal insurance policy you might pay into a plan for five years before you break your leg and require coverage, but with pregnancy an insurer will start paying your costs immediately. In order to protect their finances, an insurance company must ask policy-holders to start paying before pregnancy bills begin. Before you start trying for a baby, consult your current insurer: if you’re not already paying for maternity benefits, add them. If it’s not possible to include a maternity package in your current coverage, you may have to find a new policy.
Prepare to Pay More for Holistic Care
These days, many new parents want more than just routine blood tests and ultrasound scans: they want prenatal care that looks at health holistically. Examples of prenatal holistic services include acupuncture, homeopathy, prenatal massage and counseling outside a doctor’s office. Most maternity insurance packages do not include these services, but some may have an option to add these and other additions.
Whatever their insurance policy, expecting moms and dads should investigate community maternity offerings, many of which are free. Parents can find birthing classes, pregnancy groups and other resources geared toward enhancing the holistic prenatal health of mom and baby.
If You Prefer a Midwife to a Doctor, That’s Okay
A registered midwife is a man or woman trained in providing prenatal, delivery and postnatal care. Although midwives do not have the same qualifications as obstetric doctors, many women prefer to work with a midwife during their pregnancy and birth. Midwifery can be more appealing due to its focus on informed patient choices, personalized care and out-of-hospital birthing option.
Expecting parents will be pleased to learn that maternity coverage usually allows for care with either a doctor or a midwife: meaning moms and dads can choose whichever option they prefer. In fact, midwives in many parts of the world cost less than obstetric doctors, so check with your insurer to see if the caregiver you choose might entitle you to a discount on maternity coverage.
Complications Aren’t Always Covered
Unfortunately, complications can occur at every stage of pregnancy. Maternity care packages normally do not include pre-pregnancy costs such as infertility tests or treatments, and if you’re interested in antenatal vitamins, prepare to pay for those out-of-pocket. Postnatal complications occurring after delivery and discharge from the hospital are likewise not normally covered.
During pregnancy, you may be charged extra if your doctor orders extra laboratory or radiology tests, and screening for diseases like Down Syndrome aren’t always included. Expecting mothers may also appreciate being able to access further services including treatment for extreme morning sickness and coverage for lost time at the office. Consult your insurance company to find out what’s covered and what’s not, and if you’re just starting to shop for a policy and have the money to spend, look for comprehensive coverage offering a range of benefits in case of these and other complications.
Your Insurer Should Pay for Postnatal Care
New moms and dads will be happy to hear that maternity coverage doesn’t end the minute baby is born. A good private coverage policy should provide around seven days of postnatal care for routine infant health needs as well as emergency complications.
Typical postnatal care includes breastfeeding assistance, room and board at the hospital, and regular check-ups of the newborn and mother to observe for serious issues such as postpartum hemorrhage or infection. After baby’s first week, further health coverage should be provided as part of a policy’s general care for young children. Talk to your insurer about how to add dependents – it’s a phone call you don’t want to make straight after leaving the hospital with an infant.
Still have questions left unanswered regarding your maternity insurance options? Contact us to speak to one of our expert advisors - we’re always happy to help.
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