Did you know that, currently, only 12 percent of individual health insurance policies offer coverage for basic maternity care? That such coverage is mandated by only eight states? I didn’t, until suddenly I did.
Carriers in states without a mandate may offer coverage in the form of a rider, a package of benefits above and beyond the basics. But in addition to being expensive, and often sorely limited in scope, these riders, it turns out, are not something you can opt into once you become, in fact, pregnant. Because, of course, at that point your pregnancy is a pre-existing condition.
To say I was distressed would be a civilized gloss. I was on fire with the white-hot fury of 100 suns after gleaning this information from the internet. Thankfully, a phone call to my own carrier, Aetna, informed me that it was a moot point. Because, not only does Aetna not offer maternity coverage as part of my carefully acquired insurance package, it does not offer any maternity coverage at all, even as a rider, on any individual benefits package.
Babies, it turns out, are not cost-effective for the insurance industry. Because, guess what? When women purchase maternity coverage, it’s a pretty good bet they plan to use it.**
The base cost of nine months of prenatal and three months of postpartum medical care for a routine pregnancy and delivery is estimated at $10,000. One office visit with the ob-gyn my GP had packed me off to was going to run $400, out of pocket – and even though Aetna wasn’t about to cover me, I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
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