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State Orders Insurers To Cover Maternity Care

California now requires maternity care to be included in all private health insurance plans for individuals. Previously, less than 15 percent of individual plans covered pregnancy, child birth and postnatal care. Are you pro or con?


Until now, most individual health insurance plans have offered maternity coverage only as a costly "add on" service. Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition, came the cry from women's advocacy groups. 

But a new law, SB 222, requires all private plans to include maternity benefits as standard. California put the regulation into effect July 1, pre-empting the Affordable Care Act, which will require all insurance plans to include maternity benefits by 2014.

As a result of the mandatory benefit, health insurance premiums are expected to increase by an estimated $7 a month per policy. Proponents of the law, however, say that upped costs will be offset by savings to taxpayers who currently fund government health insurance programs for uninsured and underinsured pregnant women.

SB 222 was passed by California legislators in September 2011 and stipulates that maternity coverage must include:

  • Prenatal care
  • Ambulatory care
  • Involuntary complications of pregnancy
  • Neonatal care
  • Inpatient hospital maternity care, including labor, delivery and postpartum care

"Women should have access to proper medical care throughout their pregnancy," said Deniene Erickson, media relations specialist for Diablo and Napa-Solano Kaiser Permanente, in a statement to Patch. "Such care is essential to the health and well-being of both the mother and the child."

California currently provides pregancy-only Medi-Cal health coverage for pregnant women, including undocumented immigrants, with a family income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

Expectant mothers with a higher family income may be eligible for the Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) program, which provides maternity coverage for women without relevant plans or for those with plans that include a deductible or co-payments of $500 or more.

Are you a mother whose health insurance plan didn't cover your pregnancy? How did you cope? Share your story in the comments.

How do you feel about individual health insurance premiums increasing to cover maternity care?

Let us know in the comments and vote in our poll.

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Paul Vargas July 13, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Idiocy at work. But what do you expect from a Legislature made of of ignorant peasants, drunks and other grifters?
David July 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Oh, and by the way, I'm a FATHER whose health insurance "family plan" didn't cover the birth of my son. You know what? I set up a payment plan with Alta Bates and...PAID the bill. What a foreign concept.
Rob Rich July 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Just because you are a single guy doesn't mean you have no responsibilities. Somehow over 40% of children are being born to single moms. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarry.htm
David July 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Because single guys should be forced to pay for other guys' baby mommas! Brilliant!
Leah Hall July 13, 2012 at 06:08 PM


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