Government Funded Health Insurance
Know about Medicaid for pregnant women. According to Title XXI of the Social Security Act, each state, territory and the District of Columbia manages its own health insurance program with their own guidelines and income requirements. At a minimum, if your household income is at or below 133 percent the federal poverty level, you will qualify and your prenatal pregnancy care, delivery, and 60 days postpartum will be covered. However, more than half of the states have a medical needy program, which pregnant women would be eligible for, and the income qualifications are less stringent, sometimes around 200 to 300 percent above the poverty level, and persons applying can have savings, stocks and retirement funds.
Depending on your location, check out your state, territory or the District of Columbia Medicaid website. Visit the State Health Facts website to find your residence's website. Once there, click the last entry for "Medicaid." Look for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) because it is not just for children, but also for pregnant women. Find out the requirements and documentation you will need. You can also visit your state's government website and look for a "Health Services" link. You will then either look for CHIP or Medicaid.
Gather up your household pay stubs and last year's tax returns. You will need to prove your qualifying income. Look at the application process to see exactly what your state's requirements are. If you are missing pay stubs, you can contact your employer and your employer should mail you copies of what you need. If you are missing your tax returns, you can call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 for a copy.
Apply for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). If you think you may qualify, apply as soon as possible because prenatal care should begin around six weeks of pregnancy. If you are having difficulty finding the application form, call the contact number and ask for one to be mailed to you. Also, you can visit the Medicaid Application website which is a free resource that will help you find the information for your state.
Private Health Insurance
Know about maternity discount programs. There are several discount programs available to pregnant women. You can receive up to 60 percent off health care costs, including sonograms, doctors visits, lab works and hospital stay. Maternity Advantage is one. Another is AmeriPlan.
Know about individual health plans. Many health insurance companies have HMOs, PPOs and traditional insurance plans that people can apply for. You will need to medically qualify and many pre-existing conditions may disqualify you, however, pregnancy is not always one of them. For example, Carefirst's Blue Choice HMA has a monthly fee depending on your age, a $1200 deductible and a $40 copayment for specialists like OBGYNs. Insurance companies to consider are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser and Aetna.
Apply for private health insurance if you don't qualify or don't want government insurance. Even if you calculate how much you expect to pay in doctor's visits and/or hospital stay, you can not take in account what may happen that could be an unexpected expense. For example, if you need a C-section like one out four delivering mothers do, that will be a cost that is at least double a vaginal delivery and your hospital stay will be even longer, only adding on to the cost. Compare and contrast all the different plans to decide which is best and most economic for you. If you have an OBGYN and want to remain with her, then make sure she accepts the insurance. You may need to get a physical or have your most recent doctor fill out a form. See each individual application to know what is expected.According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), 13 percent of pregnant women are uninsured. Because of this, they are likely not to receive proper prenatal care. Subsequently, according to the Women's Health website, the babies born to these mothers compared to babies born to mothers who had adequate prenatal care, are three times more likely to have low birth weight and five times more likely to die. So what should a mother do who finds herself pregnant and without insurance?