With all the controversy surrounding Obama’s new healthcare bill, you might be wondering how the new laws will affect pregnant women and their care. Several parts of this bill will benefit both mothers and midwives.
Currently, maternity coverage is included in most group insurance plans. That is a good thing, but that means that decent maternity coverage is tied to employment. For those who are self-employed or unemployed, or those working for smaller companies that do not provide group insurance policies, acquiring good maternity coverage is a lot more complicated. Most private insurance plans do not include maternity. It must be purchased separately as a rider and raises the cost of the insurance considerably. In addition, it is considered a preexisting condition, and there may be a waiting period before maternity coverage goes into effect. If you become pregnant before the coverage goes into effect, you won’t be covered. That is the reality of the insurance market today.
In 2014, however, things will change. Maternity will be included in the state-based exchange programs and will no longer be considered a preexisting condition. This will dramatically improve circumstances for those middle to low-income families who must purchase private insurance. It will also prevent any woman from being denied coverage because she has given birth via cesarean before.
Another benefit is Medicaid will be required to reimburse certified nurse midwives and the birth centers where they deliver, which will open up the door for some women to give birth in a birth center with a midwife, rather than in a hospital with an OB/GYN, if they so choose. Women who want to give birth outside of the hospital setting will now have more choices other than paying completely out of pocket.
While not everyone may support the bill in its entirety, I believe these changes will be appreciated by many growing families in the US.