Pregnancy and birth may seem as natural as breathing, but it is a medical condition requiring specific health care. If you have a comprehensive health insurance plan, your insurance may or may not cover all your drugs, treatments, appointments and needs. Be aware of your needs and resources as you enter these exciting nine months.
Health insurance for pregnancy should cover the health care of the mother and baby, throughout the pregnancy and sometimes for a few months after. Some insurance policies cover specific complications, while others don’t. Some cover time in a neonatal intensive care unit, after birth, while others don’t. You should verify with your provider exactly which conditions and time frames they cover before or soon after you get pregnant.
In October 2008, the American Pregnancy Association reported that an average birth cost up to $8,000. The price for the birth doesn’t include pregnancy appointments, ultrasounds, pregnancy medication or any treatments for complications. It also doesn’t include the cost of follow-up appointments, vaccines, medications or specialists. Your insurance will cover or defray these costs, letting you save for cribs, diapers and college.
The cost of health insurance prevents or dissuades many expecting mothers from prenatal health care. They avoid doctor’s appointments to save money, especially when everything seems normal or healthy. Pregnancy is a dynamic time, when health concerns could appear at any time. On its website, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau reports that babies born to moms who did not receive prenatal care have more chances of being born unhealthy or dying prematurely. Health insurance will encourage these mothers to get the care they need from the beginning of pregnancy.
Your employer or spouse’s health care providers are the best places to look for pregnancy health insurance. Contact the provider to determine whether your pregnancy and your baby can be covered. If you need to purchase more comprehensive care, that may be less expensive than the total cost of pregnancy. Medicaid, the Social Security Administration or other inexpensive health care options may be available to you. Contact a social welfare office, a local doctor’s office, charity for mothers and babies, lactation organization or other women’s group for more information.
While doctors and other experts are critical to the health of the mother and baby, the mother’s participation in her own health is equally important. If you are expecting, take care of your body by eating healthy foods, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and seeking medical care as soon as you get that line on the stick.
- amor maternal image by Leonardo Jerez from Fotolia.com