When you start thinking of the excitement of adding a new addition to your family, don't forget to update your private health insurance policy. Otherwise you could get caught with significant pregnancy related medical expenses.
Most personal medical insurance policies will allow the addition of maternity coverage for an additional annual premium. Some, like the Pallas GlobalHealth plan from GlobalHealth Asia automatically includes maternity coverage for prenatal, delivery, and postnatal expenses, as well as any complications arising from pregnancy, birth defects and congenital conditions at birth.
Having personal health insurance coverage that includes maternity benefits can be a great financial relief when that new bundle of joy enters your life. After all, medical expenses for pregnancy and delivery typically run into the thousands of dollars, and this can easily double if there are complications, when a cesarean delivery is required, or in instances of premature births.
If you do not have family or personal private health insurance, be sure to start investigating this well before you and your partner fall pregnant. Many insurance policies require up to a 12-month wait before you can claim for pregnancy or birth-related expenses.
As GlobalHealth International Group Chairman and CEO Joseph Griffin points out, "individual health insurance policies generally do not cover maternity care. Additionally, if a woman is pregnant and applies for coverage in the individual market, most insurers will consider her pregnancy a pre-existing medical condition and deny coverage."
Simply put, the best time to get insurance cover for the cost of a pregnancy is before you get pregnant.
Having private medical insurance is the best way to ensure that you can afford to take advantage of the best medical services available to you. Unfortunately, statistics show that over half of uninsured pregnant women do not begin prenatal care until the second trimester or later. This is a risky situation, particularly since approximately one in ten births occur prematurely.
One of the biggest benefits of maternity coverage under personal medical insurance programs is that you are free to select your own obstetrician and even choose to have delivery in a private hospital. This is a welcomed relief from worry and concern for any expectant mother to be.
What to look for in maternity coverage
Factors you will want to consider including in your private health insurance policy include:
* Hospital accommodation, labour ward, delivery suite and birthing centre costs (you could even have your own private room, depending on your plan)
* Surgery-related expenses including operating theatre and, if required, intensive care costs
* Professional and service fees for your doctor, obstetrician, anaesthetist and paediatrician
* Any drugs or Chinese Medicine used as part of the delivery process or during your hospital stay
* Your choice of private hospital and doctor
* Other therapies and treatments, such as physiotherapy or acupuncture, associated with the delivery and provided by the hospital or recommended by your doctor
Lastly, while you are looking at your insurance coverage, don't forget to ensure your new baby is covered for medical expenses from birth. In most cases, your family medical insurance policy can easily be upgraded to include your new born. But this is not automatic and you have to notify your insurer as soon as your new baby enters your world.