What Does Maternity Insurance Cover?
Pregnancy is an exciting time in a couple's life. But it can quickly become a time of anxiety when all the costs associated with bringing a new baby into the world are starting to add up. The home pregnancy test alone can cost about $15 and it only goes up from there if you find yourself buying a new one every month.
But while the anticipation of having a baby is one of unexplainable happiness, the reality that it costs money - and a lot of it - to bring the baby from conception to the new crib at home. And someone has to pay for it!
Consider what happens after the home pregnancy kit says you are an expectant mother. Visits to the doctor need to start up immediately to give you and your baby all the advantage of solid prenatal care. This will mean tests that involve lab work, ultrasounds, possible prescriptions along the way, the inevitable hospital stay and all the costs associated with delivery whether it's a routine vaginal birth or a cesarean section with complications. Then, there is the unforeseen possibility of a premature baby requiring neonatal care that can ratchet up baby costs exponentially.
Costs for having a baby can range wildly depending on individual circumstances and location in the United States. But a healthy delivery with no complications can go from $2,000 and go as high as $25,000 or more if complications or problems come up in the delivery room.
Having a Preemie Can Increase That Amount Many Times Over
All health insurance policies group people into categories that predict the risk rate for costs. A maternity health insurance policy is no different. Pregnant women are grouped according to risk factors such as age and the presence of pre-existing conditions like diabetes, which can add more costs to pregnancy care for tests and prescriptions. The insurance companies must do this kind of profiling to arrive at an average cost for the
condition so they can charge for their policy based upon reasonable risks. For example, a 36-year old mother-to-be who weight 210 pounds and is diabetic will necessarily pay a higher premium than a 25-year old woman weighing 124 pounds with no history of any health problems. The fact is, the second woman has a better chance of a less risky - and therefore less costly - pregnancy and delivery than the first woman.
When determining what a maternity health care policy covers, start by inquiring in the HR department of your workplace if you or your husband has a health policy. Make sure you are covered by your husband's policy even if you have your own. You can benefit from having multiple policies for more coverage. But remember, the time to put a maternity health coverage policy in place is well before you become pregnant, as many policies consider pregnancy a "pre-existing" condition if you try to enroll in a program after you are already pregnant. If you do this, it will cost more for you, if it is even available from your existing carrier. You may be forced to purchase a supplemental policy from another carrier.
Maternity health insurance will pay the bulk of your prenatal doctor visits, allowing for two or more visits per month as dictated by the individual policy. It should also cover part of your prescriptions if medication is needed during your pregnancy. Lab work, blood work, and things like sonograms and ultrasounds will also be covered leading up to the "big day" of labor and delivery and the hospital stay and all the extras that go into the baby's first few hours and days.
Maternity health insurance may be the last thing on your mind when you are considering becoming pregnant, but your pregnancy will be that much more anxiety free if you make sure you have a good policy in place well before you can announce to the world, "I'm pregnant!"
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