Maternity coverage has always been a critical part of health insurance for women. The Federal law wants it included in employer group insurance plans. Medicaid has also included it to act as a safety net for pregnant uninsured women to take care of the labor and delivery for women.
Now thousands of people in the individual insurance market in Tennessee market have a gap where the maternity coverage is concerned and can end up paying hundreds of dollars monthly. The Affordable Care Act has deemed maternity care essential in the new policies which include care for the new born child. Karen Davenport, director of health policy at the National Women's Law Center in Washington, said the inclusion "is huge" for the growing individual market.
Advertisement"For many women, maternity care is something they need at some point in their life," Davenport said. "And it is an event that is very hard to pay for by you these days. You can easily be looking at $10,000 for maternity care."Now, all individual plans must include such benefits in what's called a "benchmark plan." In Tennessee, the benchmark plan BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's PPO plan includes maternity care and inpatient delivery services, "including routine nursery care and complications of pregnancy."
People have been paying extra all these years for the maternity rider to the tune of $250 a month -the new law is a definite relief. The maternity cover had to be taken for 4 years and would be valid only after 10 months of purchase - so basically pregnancy was treated by insurers like a pre-existing ailment.
Basically maternity care should be included in comprehensive health insurance as having a baby is as big a health risk which can involve as many complications as colon cancer, so it is better not to have to choose which health conditions need health covers and which don't.Enrollment for insurance plans on the new health insurance marketplace ends March 31.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Kate Harrison, February 2014
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