Pregnancy is a joy, but it can be stressful to be pregnant without insurance. What are the options for pregnant women across all income levels?
You Have Options
If you can’t afford the costs of health care, there are cheap or free options for prenatal and maternal care. Insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act is subsidized based on income. If you don’t make a lot, you won’t have to pay a lot.
Expectant mothers with specific levels of income can qualify for Medicaid, which will cover your medical expenses at little cost to you. CHIP is another government-funded insurance program that mothers and children qualify for under certain income brackets.
Factors to Consider
If you’re purchasing a new insurance policy or deciding if your current one is sufficient for pregnancy, there are two factors to consider. Pregnant women have frequent doctor’s visits, so you should consider whether you can afford to pay your copay (the amount of money you have to pay at each doctor visit) dozens of times throughout your pregnancy.
OB-GYN doctors handle maternal care. Does your insurance plan consider them a specialist, meaning a higher copay? Will your policy allow you to schedule appointments with an OB-GYN, or do you have to be referred by a primary care doctor first?
Caught in the Middle
What if you can’t afford insurance and you don’t qualify for government-subsidized insurance? You and your baby will not be left out in the cold. Doctors office and hospitals sometimes give discounts to customers who are paying on their own.
EMTALA is a federal law that makes it illegal for a hospital and doctors to turn away a woman in labor, even if she cannot pay. You’re going to do great, Mom!