The Affordable Care Act: Increasing Access to Maternity Coverage

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—January 9, 2015. The following blog by Judy Sarasohn, Public Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services was posted on January 09, 2015 at http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/blog/2015/01/increasing-access-maternity-coverage.html

Rachel Farmer of North Carolina and her husband, who run a surf school, had individual health insurance policies that didn’t cover much. They wanted to expand their family, but worried that they wouldn’t be able to afford it. Adding maternity coverage would have boosted the cost of Rachel’s policy by more than $600 a month, making health insurance impossible for them to afford. 

For many new and expecting moms across the country, there is never a shortage of things to worry about, and the health and security of their families is usually top of that list.  In 2012 the average hospital bill for the more than 3 million women who delivered babies without complications amounted to more than $23,000.  Without good health coverage, millions like Rachel were left wondering how they could afford to welcome a newborn to their families.

Rachel and her husband now have a baby girl, Mae, who is beautiful and healthy. They had checked out their options in the Health Insurance Marketplace and selected a plan with maternity coverage in 2014.  When they re-enrolled for 2015 coverage, they found a quality plan that covers all of them for $4.14 a month after tax credits. All plans available through the Marketplace must cover a package of essential health benefits, which include maternity and newborn care. Thanks to the new law, Mom, Dad, and Mae can get the checkups, screenings, vaccinations, and the other health care they need.

Rachel was relieved to find a plan that could cover her whole family at a cost she could afford. She explained: “Before the Marketplace, I don’t know that we would have been able to get insurance after we had our baby because it was so expensive.”

Most plans also cover certain recommended preventive services that address women’s unique health needs, such as mammograms, Pap smears, and other vital health services, at no out-of-pocket cost. Because of the Affordable Care Act, about 48.5 million women are now benefiting from preventive services with no out-of pocket costs.

We know that women are frequently the health care decision-makers in their families. They’re often the ones who hold their children’s hands while they get their vaccinations and remind their spouses to get a checkup. They are often the family member who figures out how to stretch and re-work the family budgets to pay the doctor’s bills. And too often, women put their own health last.

Coverage of maternity care and women’s preventive services empowers women to get better care for themselves and their families.

There is still time for women – and men – to enroll in coverage for 2015, with open enrollment in the Marketplace continuing through February 15. Go to HealthCare.gov to check out your options and find a plan that best meets your needs and budget. Enroll by January 15 for coverage that begins February 1.

Source: hhs.gov