Maternity Coverage in California
With the recent Supreme Court decision there was hardly any time available for coverage of other health insurance news. Even if, say, America’s most populous state unilaterally made big changes to all of its citizen’s health insurance policies, you wouldn’t have heard about it.
And you didn’t hear about it, did you?
Here’s what happened: Beginning July 1, 2012, the state of California mandated that all health insurance plans must cover maternity care. That’s a big deal. Prior to July 1, employer-based health insurance plans already provided maternity coverage, but plans purchased by individuals or families on their own often did not.
What does this mean in practical terms for California consumers?
- It means that if you had an individually-purchased health insurance plan in California that didn’t provide maternity coverage prior to July 1, 2012, well, now it does.
- It means that all new major medical health insurance policies sold in California now come with maternity coverage.
- It also means that if you’re, say, a single, 50-year-old male, your health insurance plan now covers maternity care too, whether or not you use that particular benefit.
- It does NOT mean that pregnant women can no longer be declined coverage based on their pregnancy (as a pre-existing condition).
Are costs going to go up as a result? We’ll have to wait and see. Generally speaking, however, health insurance premiums don’t seem to have suddenly skyrocketed on the morning of July 1. For the past year or so, insurance companies have known this change was on its way. As of 2014, when the last big provisions of the health reform law come into effect, maternity care will be standard nationwide.
Other states that currently mandate maternity coverage for individual and family health insurance plans include Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
Another big change in California? Well, if you didn’t hear, autism treatment is now covered under all existing and new health insurance plans in the state. This also went into effect on July 1, 2012.