Changing insurance during a pregnancy often creates anxiety for the mom-to-be. Thoroughly understanding the implications of switching your insurance coverage while pregnant eases some of the stress. Because of the high cost of prenatal care and the hospital charges for delivering a baby, it is important to maintain coverage and understand what you need to do to ensure you have no lapse in coverage. Always ask questions if something is unclear to avoid a misunderstanding that could cost you thousands of dollars.
Verify the new policy covers maternity care. While HIPAA stipulates that pregnancy cannot be considered a preexisting condition if the woman was previously covered by another group plan, it does not require that employers offer maternity coverage. Not all health insurance plans cover maternity costs. Ensure that the new policy covers prenatal care, and check the coverage amounts so you know what your financial obligation is.
Check with the human resources department to verify when the insurance plan goes into effect if the insurance switch is due to a new job. Check to see if there is a waiting period. Insurance sometimes doesn’t kick in for up to 90 days when starting a new job, which presents a problem for a pregnant woman.
Verify that your current obstetrician is a network provider for the new insurance policy. If not, the insurance may not cover the care or you may have to pay more. Search for a new doctor who does participate in the new insurance plan. If your doctor is in the network, provide a copy of your new insurance card as soon as you have it.
Alert your current doctor about the upcoming switch in insurance policies. Talk with the billing department to ensure the charges are submitted to the correct insurance company. Verify that the office updates your records with the new insurance information.
Verify that your preferred hospital or birthing center is a network provider with the new insurance company. If you have already submitted registration paperwork to the facility, contact them and update the records with your new insurance information. This prevents problems once the baby is born.
Keep copies of both the old and new insurance cards and policy information for your records. Make sure to keep them organized so you know which card is for your current coverage.
Watch the bills that you receive closely after the change occurs. If a bill isn’t paid by the insurer, verify that it was submitted to the correct company. Ask the doctor’s office to resubmit the bill to the appropriate company if it should have been paid.