The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, made a number of changes to how Americans access health care. By changing the requirements on insurance companies, the ACA made healthcare more accessible to many Americans. In addition, ObamaCare made certain types of coverage mandatory in all new insurance plans. This affected many types of health care, including maternity care.
Pregnancy Coverage Before Obamacare
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, insurers were not required to offer maternity coverage. A pregnancy was often considered a pre-existing medical condition and insurers could deny insurance to pregnant women or specifically exclude payment for her maternity care needs. Even if an insurer offered pregnancy coverage, women were charged more for insurance because of the likelihood that they would need maternity care.
When the ACA was passed, all new insurance plans were required to end these practices. Individual plans that were in existence on March 23rd, 2010, were created before March 24, 2010, and haven’t significantly changed are grandfathered, meaning they are not subject to these changes. In addition, no new insurance plan can deny coverage for a pre-existing condition, including pregnancy.
Changes in Maternity Coverage After the ACA
New insurance plans not only have to offer insurance to pregnant women without charging more, they also have to cover certain types of care. These essential health benefits include maternity and newborn care, in addition to some important preventive health services.
One important note is that having a child qualifies you for a special enrollment period. This means that you will have an opportunity to add your child to your existing insurance plan or choose a new insurance plan that better suits your needs. However, this time is limited, so make sure you have arrangements in place so you don’t miss the time window.
Under the ACA, preventive care must be made available without charging a copayment or deductible. This means that women and their children, including newborns, have access to important medical care without additional cost. For women, some of the important preventive services include folic acid supplements, screening for gestational diabetes, and hepatitis B screening, among other services.
Once your child is born, many essential health care services are available for them. This list includes preventive medication, hearing screenings, immunizations, and many other screenings for various illnesses. As your child grows, they will continue to receive vision and dental care, behavioral assessments, and more. All of this is provided without any cost-sharing, such as a copayment or deductible.
The ACA made many changes to how health insurance operates. Some of the most significant changes involved maternity care and how pregnant women are covered by insurance. With the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to offer maternity coverage and it can no longer be excluded if a woman is pregnant before her insurance plan begins. Women also cannot be charged more because they may need maternity care. In addition, Obamacare requires new plans to offer a variety of important preventive care services without cost-sharing. These changes have made health care more accessible to new moms and their children.