How do I get Health Insurance When Pregnant?

Amanda R. Bell

Finding yourself pregnant without health insurance can be stressful; prenatal care and childbirth, even without any complications, can cost a large amount of money. While it is very unlikely that you will be able to purchase individual insurance to cover maternity care alone, you may be eligible for some sort of government-sponsored health care depending on your income. There are also some programs that, for a relatively low monthly fee, can reduce your cost of care by nearly half. If you are married, you may qualify for coverage through your spouse's health insurance plan.

Prenatal health insurance covers care during pregnancy.
Prenatal health insurance covers care during pregnancy.

In many countries, pregnancy cannot be considered a preexisting condition. Many insurance companies, however, have found a way around this rule. Upon purchasing individual health insurance with maternity coverage, nearly every policy has a 10 month to one year waiting period for the maternity coverage to kick in. If you're already pregnant and attempting to purchase this type of insurance, there is very little chance that the company will cover your prenatal care or the cost of labor and delivery.

A health insurance claim form.
A health insurance claim form.

In countries without universal health care, there is often the option of government-subsidized health insurance for those meeting certain income requirements. While the income limit for healthy, childless adults is often extremely low, the limit for pregnant women is usually significantly higher. Some of these programs cover the entire cost of prenatal care, labor, delivery and any of your medical needs for nearly two months after you have your baby. If you qualify, this can be a good way to get health insurance when pregnant.

Some areas also offer reduce fee health insurance when pregnant. Depending on your income, you may either have to pay a monthly premium, a percentage of care, or both. If you need health insurance when pregnant, this could be a good option for you, especially if you make more money than the income limits for fully covered government health insurance.

For a minimal fee, there are companies that can help to negotiate the cost of maternity care with your doctor and the hospital. These companies, which do not technically offer insurance, can make lacking health insurance when pregnant more affordable. While you can usually sign up for these programs even after you're pregnant, in some cases you may be able to work with your doctor and hospital on your own with the same results.

Many doctors affiliated with a specific hospital offer a package deal including normal prenatal care, lab work, a normal vaginal delivery, and the six week postpartum exam for a reduced cost. In many cases, you will be able to make monthly payments on the plan while you are pregnant. If you do not qualify for free or reduced cost health insurance when pregnant, it can be helpful to talk to your doctor.

If you are married or eligible to be put on another person's health insurance plan, you may be able to get health insurance when pregnant. This depends entirely on the insurance plan itself and whether or not there is a waiting period for maternity coverage. While this is not always possible, you will probably have a better chance of getting health insurance when pregnant via this route rather than purchasing individual insurance.

Government-subsidized health insurance is available in some countries.
Government-subsidized health insurance is available in some countries.

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