Your Insurance Company Really Doesn't Want to Have a Baby With You

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals

Prenatal care is important, but that doesn't mean your insurance company will pay for it. Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez, Getty Images

Do you want to have a baby? Stop and think about it.

This is a momentous decision. In fact, it is probably the most momentous decision you will ever make. You are bringing another human being into the world. You need to talk this over with your insurance agent.

Oh, and your partner.

He or she might have something useful to add. Still, the person you really need to make this decision with is your insurance agent. He might not want you to get pregnant. He might prefer that you adopt or maybe just settle for a new car.

A lot of major insurance companies just don't like this idea of you getting pregnant, and, more and more, MSNBC reports, they refuse to have any part of it.

It's sort of like the way many insurance companies refuse to cover orthodontia. If some parents feel their kid should be able to chew, hey, that's their business. Just don't ask the insurance company to pay for it.

MSNBC reports a recent investigation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce uncovered that the four largest health insurance companies -- Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint -- don't cover the expenses of a normal pregnancy when they can avoid it.

A survey by the National Women's Law Center last year found the same thing. Out of 3,600 policies across the country, only 13 percent covered pregnancy.

Of course, if your employers' health plan doesn't cover pregnancy, you can always shop around for an individual plan, right? Uh-uh.

Guess what. You have a "pre-existing condition."

Don't feel bad, ladies. The House investigation found insurance companies are just as cold toward would-be dads. They often deny coverage to expectant fathers and those in the process of adoption.

That's because most states require insurance companies to extend coverage to policyholders' newborn or adopted children, Brigette Courtot, a senior policy analyst at the National Women's Law Center, tells MSNBC.

But don't despair. MSNBC says some insurance companies do cover pregnancy. You just have to add it to your plan for, say, about $10,000. By the way, these riders often come with waiting periods of a year or more.

So, yes, you really do need to check with your insurance agent before you and your partner get too frisky.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires large companies to provide maternity coverage. However, that only applies to employer-sponsored health insurance in businesses with 15 or more employees

You're out of luck if you work for a small company or have to provide your own insurance.

However, the year 2014 is coming. Companies will be required to cover pregnancy as an "essential health benefit" and will not be able to turn applicants away because of pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy.

If your biological clock is ticking, just set it back three years and be sure to always, always consult your insurance agent on reproductive matters.

Abigail Ablondi of Fredericksburg, Va., failed to do that. Now 4 years old, she didn't phone ahead when she insisted on being born before her mother Heather's pregnancy insurance kicked in.

Ablondi was born prematurely, so between all the various expenses, she came out with a price tag of $25,000. None of this was covered by insurance.

"It was frustrating," Heather Ablondi tells MSNBC. "The insurer basically told me, 'You're not allowed to get pregnant in the next six months.' "

Babies. They never listen.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.