You can change your health plan during open enrollment if you become pregnant. Health insurance companies can’t refuse to give you a health plan if you’re pregnant, whether you buy it yourself or get it through your employer.
There are few moments in life more exciting and more harrowing than the period before the birth of your child. however, remember to update your life, health, and home insurance coverage to protect your growing family.
here are three surefire moves to make long before the big day arrives.
1. buy life insurance, or more
Life insurance should be at the top of your to-do list when your family is about to grow. Even if you don’t think life insurance is a priority, you should make it a priority, especially when you have kids, says Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.
An analysis by the Pew Research Center found that mothers are the sole or main earners in 40% of the US. uu. homes according to limra, a life insurance and market research association, most of the us. uu. households (70%) with children under the age of 18 would struggle to cover daily living expenses in a few months if the main breadwinner died.
But you don’t have to be the primary breadwinner to need life insurance. According to the Center for American Progress, mothers provide at least some income in 70% of married households with children under the age of 18 living in the home. even a small loss of income can affect a family’s finances.
Life insurance is also important for housewives. If you’re one of the five million women who have children and don’t work outside the home, your family will likely have to pay for childcare and have someone else take care of other household chores if you leave suddenly. your life insurance policy would help cover those costs.
2. readjust your health insurance benefits
If you don’t have health insurance, you can enroll only during an open enrollment period, unless a qualifying event, such as job loss, triggers special enrollment. If you want to join your workplace health insurance plan, your employer can give you your open enrollment dates.
pregnancy is not considered a life-changing event that qualifies you for a special enrollment period, but the birth of the baby is. You’ll have 60 days from birth to buy health insurance (for you and the baby) at a marketplace, but only 30 days to join your employer or your partner’s employer’s work-based health plan.
If you already have insurance, this special enrollment period allows you to make changes to your current plan, like adding your child. this is an important step, and it doesn’t happen automatically. if you wait beyond the special w
what does health insurance cover?
Health insurance generally covers pregnancy and childbirth. Under the Affordable Care Act, maternity and delivery care are among the ten essential health benefits that must be covered by all qualified health plans. however, there are some exceptions.
An exception is if you are under the age of 26 and covered by a parent’s health insurance policy.
Larger employers that are self-insured do not have to meet essential health requirements, according to the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. may exclude maternity coverage for dependents, so it’s always a good idea to double-check if you have health insurance that covers maternity care.
Most plans cover the costs of delivery and aftercare, but you may have to pay part of the bill for your hospital stay. You may have lower copays if you choose a doctor and hospital that is part of your plan’s network, so be sure to discuss this with your hospital before seeking care.
Get an itemized list of your out-of-pocket costs for childbirth and your hospital stay months before your due date. some hospitals require partial payment in advance. plan ahead so you don’t get stuck in the finance office when you should be in the delivery suite.
If you still have a parent policy when you deliver your bundle of joy, you will not be able to add your child to that policy. your child is your dependent, not your parents, which means you’ll need to purchase a separate policy for your child within the special enrollment period.
“i strongly encourage expectant parents to sit down with local experts who can help them find and understand the plan that is best for them,” says jessica kendall, director of us state partnerships for families. for-profit health consumer advocacy group. kendall works with enrollment assistants to identify best practices in enrollment-related activities and shares those lessons with the network at the national, state, and local levels.
If you’re low-income and qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you can enroll in these programs at any time, Kendall says. Most states have expanded Medicaid coverage to pregnant women within certain income limits, but you should check to see if yours does. if so, determine eligibility requirements as they may vary by state.
3. reconsider your home insurance policy
A new addition to your family may require a new house, car, or both.
If you’re moving to a larger home to accommodate the growing family, it’s time to buy homeowners insurance or renters insurance, if you’re renting). your current insurer may not be the best for your new residence. shopping for home insurance quotes can help make sure you’re getting a fair price.
If, instead of moving, you’re making significant home improvements, like adding a bedroom or bathroom to your home, let your insurance company know and adjust your coverage accordingly. you don’t want your new and improved home to be underinsured.
If your newborn son inherits a family heirloom that has significant value, like a great-great-grandfather’s gold pocket watch or a grandmother’s diamond engagement ring, talk to your agent about whether you need to schedule it separately on your home insurance policy, Salvatore advises.
The paraphernalia that comes with a new baby (cribs, dressers, changing tables, car seats, playpens, etc.) shouldn’t affect a homeowner’s policy. But you’ll still want to inventory and keep a list of your personal belongings up-to-date so you’ll be available in case the unexpected happens and your home is damaged in a fire or storm or stolen, Salvatore adds.
Can I get a discount on car insurance if I get pregnant?
Having a baby won’t get you a discount on auto insurance, but switching to a family vehicle could lower your rates. If you’re trading in that sporty two-seater for a family-friendly SUV or minivan, expect to pay less each month.
Still, some vehicles you’re considering may have higher rates than others, so it’s important to compare costs before you head to the showroom.
“We always recommend that you look at the cost of insuring something before you make the final purchase,” Salvatore says. “With a new baby and new expenses, money can be tight. so you want the best deal you can get.”
To compare rates between car models, you can use insure.com’s Average Insurance Rates By Model tool, which presents rate data for over 2,000 current year vehicles.