How to Supplement Your Health Insurance for Maternity Leave Coverage

Make the Most of Your Insurance to Cover Pregnancy and Childbirth

A newborn baby gazes up at her mother

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If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, you may be wondering what kind of insurance coverage can help cover the costs. All ACA health insurance plans and Medicaid plans cover pregnancy. There is also supplemental insurance coverage available to help cover costs or loss of income following childbirth.

There are several supplemental maternity leave insurance coverages plans that you can consider.

What Is Supplemental Maternity Leave Insurance?

Supplemental maternity leave insurance is any insurance that can supplement your income or provide coverage for costs resulting from your pregnancy and childbirth. There is no stand-alone supplemental maternity insurance policy. Instead, the term supplemental maternity leave insurance refers to add-ons or additional insurance options you can strategically use to supplement your maternity needs. Two common types of supplemental insurance you can purchase to help with costs associated with maternity leave and childbirth are:

In addition to purchasing additional insurance, you can review your current health insurance to ensure the policy you have provides the best coverage for pregnancy and child delivery. Ask to see the Summary of Benefits and Coverage document for your health plan and compare it to other available plans.

Maternity Leave and the Law

Although the Family and Medical Leave Act provides job security with certain employers for a brief leave when you are absent due to childbirth or related complications, it does not guarantee income replacement. It covers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Compare Pregnancy Insurance Coverage Options Before Conception

If you plan on being pregnant and buy independent insurance, look into the options available through various health insurance plans during the open enrollment period. Shopping ahead will always give you the greatest advantage because it will give you the time to compare the options for your pregnancy insurance coverage.

Your health insurance plan will help you cover the costs of medical care during your pregnancy and childbirth. Health insurance will not, however, provide you with compensation for your lost income if you have to take unpaid leave. Look into disability and hospital indemnity insurance to supplement your health coverage as soon as possible.

If you have employer-sponsored group benefits, you should discuss what options are available for pregnancy with them. You can ask to change your health insurance plan, or add on coverage like a short-term disability plan. Your employer may be able to give you access to special programs or coverages.

Here are a few aspects of maternity insurance that you should compare:

  • Compare the cost-sharing requirements, such as the deductible and copays.
  • Compare In-Network vs. Out-Of-Network costs. If your pregnancy has an emergency, you may have no choice but to deliver out-of-network.
  • Do you have a choice of an obstetrician?
  • Do you have a choice of hospital?
  • Is there any coverage for specialists, such as pediatricians, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, perinatologists, or others?
  • Is there is a waiting period for any coverages?
  • For short-term disability: Does the insurance include coverage for paid leave? Under what conditions?

Other Options for Supplemental Maternity Insurance

Medicaid offers some options for maternity and childbirth. You can apply for Medicaid at any time, not just during open enrollment. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you may still qualify for Pregnancy-Related Medicaid. Otherwise, you may:

  • Coordinate benefits coverage. This policy is when you use your domestic partner or spouse’s insurance coverage to supplement your coverage.
  • Purchase a maternity discount plan, which could save significant amounts on your medical costs.
  • Save money in an HSA or FSA to use for medical costs related to your pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Purchase short-term disability insurance to replace your income.
  • Purchase hospital indemnity insurance to cover extra hospital bills
  • Take out a maternity leave loan.

Finding Maternity Benefits After Conception

If you wait until you are pregnant, you may not be able to enroll in some coverages in time to cover your pregnancy and delivery. Short-term disability, for example, may have waiting periods.

The ACA covers pre-existing conditions like pregnancy. As long as you enrolled in a health insurance plan that offered good benefits for pregnancy during the open enrollment period, you will benefit from coverage under that plan.

If you miss the open enrollment period with your employer, you may not be able to switch your health insurance policy when you find out you are pregnant. Pregnancy is not a qualifying life event in most states. However, there are exceptions. For example, New York lists pregnancy as a qualifying life event. Being pregnant may not qualify you for a special enrollment period, but having a baby does. Learn more about qualifying life events.

Although no one supplemental maternity insurance policy can cover all your needs, with a little research and planning, you may find a combination of policies that will maximize your coverage. This combination may provide you with extra income if you take time off work during pregnancy and following childbirth. This patchwork of maternity health insurance hacks can form part of a valuable strategy to help see women and their families through the financial challenges of maternity leave.