This is a reply turned post from a comment on Raising Women’s Voices piece about women getting denied maternity coverage by their insurance plans. It also gives the back story as to why I regretted not having any rotten tomatoes with me when I was sitting front row at a panel at school recently, and the medical director from our local Blue Cross Blue Shield was sitting right in front of me.
It is horrible that these plans do not cover maternity. It is a not very thinly veiled plan to not cover labor and delivery, which is increasingly becoming more expensive, especially as cesarean rates climb.
50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Blue Cross and Blue Shield didn’t let me add coverage for my pregnancy when I found out that I was pregnant. I had recently lost a job and couldn’t afford COBRA. So, I got attracted by the low price of an individual plan, and didn’t know until the fine print that I would have to pay hundreds more a month to cover a pregnancy I wasn’t planning.
I would have to take a negative pregnancy test at a doctor’s office and pay for a few months of insurance before I was allowed to get pregnant and have that pregnancy covered. It didn’t matter that I only took a home test, had never been seen by a doctor for the pregnancy, and had a miscarriage with a previous pregnancy. It didn’t matter that I was ready, willing and eager to pay for the maternity coverage. I was berated by the BCBS representative for my lack of planning.
Some insurance companies are also refusing to cover women who have had a cesarean. In my area, 40% is a pretty typical cesarean rate at the local hospitals.
So, if you rule out women who are paying for individual plans who weren’t planning their pregnancies and women who have had a prior cesarean, there are a lot of births for insurance companies to turn down. Not to mention the millions who have no health insurance.