Should Women consider health insurance plans with maternity benefits?


Should Women consider health insurance plans with maternity benefits?

Insurance is a must if you want to be free from financial worries. Women now shoulder more responsibilities in the family, they are the caregivers for family members, they too venture out for their job and travel as much as men do for social and economic purposes. In this light, you may consider that women too are exposed to the environment and require a health insurance plan that would help them deal with the high hospital expenses when they fall sick and have to undergo treatment in a hospital.

Health plans and what they cover?

There are a number of health insurance plans in the market and each one of them offer varying levels of coverage as basic as well as add-on features. The basic plans generally offer coverage for

  • Outpatient care
  • Emergencies
  • Hospitalization charges in case of surgery
  • Lab bills
  • Preventive and wellness services.

What type of plan do women require, why?

A health insurance plan with maternity benefits is supposed to be the best health insurance plan for pregnant women. It is because by offering maternity as a feature, they usually provide cover for delivery and the charges for the care of the mother and infant.

Maternity benefit plan- the advantage?

The health plan with maternity benefits will help you manage the maternity related expenses which includes

  • Regular diagnostic tests
  • Cost of medicines taken during that period
  • Hospitalization expenses or in-patient hospitalization for normal or c-section deliveries.
  • Expenses for newborn babies up to 90 days after birth.
  • Cost of vaccination.

The health plans with maternity benefits can be considered a great health insurance plan for pregnant women.  It will help meet the hospital expenses with ease. With high and exorbitant fees being charged in the hospitals, the maternity linked health plan will make you face the financial need with ease.

There are also comprehensive insurance plans that go on to provide insurance cover even for the storage of stem cells of the newborn baby. However, it should be noted that the insurance cover is not effective if you are already a pregnant woman. There is hardly any health insurance plan for pregnant women.

Maternity plan and the waiting period

However, if you wish to enjoy the full benefits of taking up a health plan with maternity benefits it is important for you to make a note of the waiting period. There is hardly any health insurance plan for pregnant women. Chances are that the insurers would deny cover if you are already pregnant. You should have sufficient waiting period to avail coverage.

When and who should purchase health plans with maternity benefits?

A young and middle-aged couple in the age group of 20-35 years should choose a health insurance plan with maternity benefits. Maternity benefits can be availed only after a long waiting period. In this light, if you opt for the health plan with maternity benefits immediately after your marriage, you would be able to avail coverage once the waiting period is over and it may actually coincide with your plans of starting a family.

The waiting period

The waiting period suggested by the insurers to avail maternity benefits is about 2-4 years. It could be brought down to 2 years but only after paying an additional premium. There are very few insurance plans with a short waiting period. That itself is about 9 months.

The Exclusions

Having said that the insurance plan with maternity benefits would be a comprehensive plan for pregnant women who are pregnant after the waiting period, it is also important to take a note of the exclusions before you take up the policy. The exclusions include

  • Treatments that are in anyway connected to fertility
  • Sterilisation treatment
  • Treatments you take for birth control
  • Treatments that are given by a person who is not a medical practitioner
  • Surrogate pregnancy
  • Vicarious pregnancy
  • Harvesting and storing the stem cell as a preventive measure to treat future possible illness
  • Termination of pregnancy within 12 weeks from the date you conceived.

Things to consider while buying the insurance plan

The insurance plan with maternity benefits would turn out to be an ideal insurance plan for pregnant women only if you pay enough attention to certain important points. It includes

  • Getting to know the terms and conditions
  • Choosing the best plan that suits your requirements from those on offer
  • The maternity benefit coverage limit
  • The sub-limit coverage for normal delivery and c-section delivery
  • The minimum waiting period and related premium costs when you opt for reduction of the waiting
  • The coverage you can expect for newborn baby care
  • The vaccination benefits covered
  • The individual coverage limit.

However, the limits vary from plan to plan and it is in the best of your interests to choose a plan that is in line with and would cover costs of maternity packages in the hospital you prefer for should choose the insurance plan accordingly.

The add-on cover advantage

As you know, that the health plan with maternity cover come with waiting periods and high premiums but, when it comes as an add-on with the employer group insurance plan, it could indeed be a great insurance plan for pregnant women. But, in most cases, it does not work that way because not all employers subscribe to maternity cover though it is a standard offering in employer health insurance policy. In the case of employer health insurance policy, the waiting period after which you can avail maternity benefits in case it is chosen as an add-on is 9 months from the date that the employee joins the group insurance plan.

The insurance plan for pregnant women should actually be a boon to them to pass the most important phase of their life. They can move on without having to worry about how to manage the finances and to hedge the unexpected expenses that may arise. But it is not so because of the limited maternity coverage that is offered by most of the insurers. The limits are usually in the range of 15,000- 50,000. But in reality, the maternity expenses could be in lakhs and could escalate depending on the hospital you choose. This means you still have to pay out of your pocket after having taken the insurance plan. This is a major drawback that would question the sanity behind taking such an insurance plan.