Planning a family, today, is a full-fledged economic and financial decision. Would-be parents will have to plan the upbringing of the child even before the little one is born, and the planning itself starts from giving birth to a healthy baby.
Maternity insurance is very important due to rising medical costs. If you are planning on having a baby, it would be advisable to purchase a maternity health insurance much before conception, to assist through the period of pregnancy. Ensuring proper care helps you bring a healthy baby into your family. Pre-natal care can become very expensive with the myriad tests and health checkups that the expectant mother needs to go through: ultrasound, blood tests to check the health of the foetus and the delivery itself.
With no stand-alone maternity insurance plan being available in India, health insurance policies with maternity benefits have become increasingly important. Maternity insurance covers expenses incurred in routine checkups, tests and any other complications that may arise during the period. Maternity plans are especially designed to cover conditions like caesarean births, pre-mature births etc. and also the cost of medicines, hospital expenses, etc. This is essential to see a woman through one of the most critical phases of her life: pregnancy.
You need to plan for maternity insurance long before you actually plan your family. The waiting period can be as high as 4 to 6 years after taking the first policy.
The cover varies from company to company. Group insurance policies usually provide for Rs. 50,000 as maternity cover, inclusive of all expenses. Individual health plans usually provide for Rs. 15,000 - Rs. 25,000, depending on whether it is normal delivery or caesarean birth. Other general insurance companies provide for only about 5% of the sum assured of the individual policy as maternity benefit. This means, if you have a sum assured of Rs 2 lakh for health insurance, then you are eligible for Rs 10,000 as maternity benefit.
Ideally, maternity insurance should cover all expenses in the pre-natal, hospitalization and post-natal phase. In reality, however, group health insurance offered by employers covers only the costs directly related to the delivery of the child. It does not cover pre-hospitalization period, which includes ultrasound, regular check-ups, termination of pregnancy within the first 12 weeks and the doctor's consultation fee.