Having a baby is expensive. From diapers to child-care, a baby’s first year can cost a family $8000-$10000, and many Mothers will spend twice that amount in large cities. If you live in Southern Maryland or anywhere in the U.S., you also have to consider the price of your hospital stay and unpaid maternity leave. Medical insurance can help offset some of these costs.
The Cost of Childbirth in Maryland
According to Polyscout, the cost of childbirth is so high that you can’t afford not to buy insurance. If a mother in Southern Maryland has a baby without insurance, it can cost over $12,500 for a vaginal birth and almost $16,500 for a C-section. Insurance can cut that price tag down by almost half, where vaginal birth becomes $6,471 and a C-section delivery caps out at $9,610.
With insurance, a family can save $6000 with a vaginal birth and nearly $7000 on a C-section. You’ll save nearly enough money to afford your child’s first year of birth without doing anything else. On top of that, if you need to stay an extra day or two over what your HMO will cover, you can use those extra funds as a buffer. This will make your extended stay less costly.
Maternity Coverage Under Your Medical Insurance
Maternity coverage is one of the 10 essential health benefits that must be covered by all health insurance plans offered to families, small groups, or individuals. Under the Affordable Care Act of 2014, your health insurance will cover pregnancy, labor, delivery, and newborn babycare up to a certain amount. Maternity coverage isn’t maternity insurance, but you can purchase it.
How Maternity Coverage Changed Since 2014
Before 2014, maternity coverage wasn’t a guaranteed benefit. Only a select few plans included maternity, so most women had to purchase extra maternity insurance at cost. Pregnancy was also considered a pre-existing health condition, making maternity coverage unavailable for women who were already pregnant, and in some instances, were pregnant before.
Now, women have guaranteed access to maternity, regardless of when or if they were pregnant.
Services Covered by Maternity Coverage Under Your Medical Insurance
All medical insurance carriers must cover the following services with their maternity coverage:
- Outpatient Services: Medications, lab studies, diabetes screening, doctor’s visits, etc.
- Inpatient Services: Physicians fees, hospitalization, birth fees, etc.
- Lactation counseling, including natural breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and breast pump.
- Newborn baby coverage, which lasts 30-days and covers your baby’s medical needs.
Most of the included services last for a limited time, so it’s important to discuss with your HMO when you can and can’t use your maternity coverage and when your coverage stops.
When to Enroll for a Medical Plan That Covers Your Maternity Expenses
Families can choose to enroll for a different health plan during the Open Enrollment Period, which begins on November 15th in the following calendar year. Keep in mind that you can’t enroll or change your health plan the minute you know you’re pregnant, as your insurance doesn’t consider pregnancy a qualifying life event. If you plan on having children, enroll ASAP.
Only after you’ve given birth to your baby will your insurance consider your pregnancy as a qualifying life event. You’ll have a 60-day window in which you can enroll/change your benefits.
Maternity Coverage Under Maternity Insurance
Maternity insurance is an add-on offered by many health insurance companies that covers the expenses related to childbirth up to a specific limit. You’ll receive extra premiums such as extended pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization coverage, daycare treatment, vaccination, and ambulance expenses. Coverage is limited to the plan type and varies based on insurers.
Some Mothers may want to extend their newborn baby coverage, especially if their child was born with a pre-existing health condition. Speak to your doctor for more details.