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Can I get health insurance if I’m already pregnant? Consumer Q&A

By on January 20th, 2012
Filed: Advice, Health Insurance, Women, You

This is one of those questions that comes up a lot on Yahoo Answers. An unexpected pregnancy can be a shock (hopefully a good sort of shock!) for most anyone. If you don’t have health insurance already, however, it can get worrisome.

Last week on Yahoo Answers we took a question from a woman that recently discovered she was pregnant. Now, there’s a difference here because she actually does have a health insurance plan, one that she bought on her own. The trouble is that her individual health insurance policy does not cover maternity care (i.e. pregnancy and delivery).

What are her options? Can she enroll with her employer’s group insurance policy?

The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:

Employer-based group health insurance plans cannot decline you based on pregnancy. That’s your best option.

However, you may find that you have to wait until the next open enrollment period before you’re able to enroll in an employer-based plan. Open enrollment only happens once a year, but that can be at different times of year for different companies. Contact your HR department of benefits administrator to learn more.

If you’re under age 26, you may also be able to re-enroll under a parent’s plan – but again that may only be an option during open enrollment, and that coverage won’t extend to the baby.

Otherwise, I’m afraid your options are limited. In most states, health insurance companies will decline your application for a new plan because they consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition. You might check with your current health insurer and ask if you can switch to a plan that does provide maternity, but it’s unlikely they’ll allow it.

Depending on your income, your state, and some other factors, you may have some government-sponsored options for you or the baby. To learn more, contact the non-profit Foundation for Health Coverage Education at www.coverageforall.org.

Best of luck.

Photo via Flickr user DorkyMum


About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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