If you plan on becoming pregnant and currently lack health insurance coverage, chances are good that you're frantically searching for an affordable policy. Unfortunately, many health insurance plans come with long mandatory waiting periods for certain types of coverage. Cancer treatment, cardiovascular procedures and maternity care are by far the most common types of coverage to which such waiting periods apply. In some cases, these waiting periods can last for as long as two years. If you're pregnant or looking to become pregnant, such a long waiting period won't do you any good. As such, you're almost certainly looking for maternity coverage that can be activated immediately.
These days, it might be difficult to find a health insurance plan that provides immediate maternity coverage. Although you might be able to claim some maternity-related expenses as "preventive care," it's unlikely that your health insurance plan will agree to cover ultrasound appointments and other specialized procedures before the end of its mandatory waiting period. Most plans require new policyholders to wait for a minimum of 30 days before their maternity coverage becomes active.
There's no single health insurance plan that offers an unusually short maternity-coverage waiting period. Rather, most major insurers offer several plans that offer comparable waiting periods. Each national insurer, including Humana and UnitedHealth, offers a maternity plan that carries a relatively short 30-day waiting period. Virtually every insurer also offers plans that come with waiting periods of 60 or 90 days. These tend to be cheaper than their 30-day counterparts.
If you're looking to save a great deal of money and haven't yet become pregnant, you may wish to find a maternity plan that offers a longer waiting period. Such plans are also typically offered by major insurers like Humana, UnitedHealth and Kaiser Permanente. By selecting a plan that features a longer waiting period for maternity care and other expensive procedures, you could save several thousand dollars per year.
You may be able to shorten your plan's maternity period by calling your health insurance provider and informing them of your situation. In many cases, you'll be permitted to customize your plan to ensure that you receive the maternity care that you require. Unfortunately, this may cost a substantial amount of money. Alternatively, you may be able to secure low-cost maternity care through your state's Medicaid or WIC program. However, you may need to meet certain income requirements for such programs. If you earn more than double the federal poverty wage, it's unlikely that you'll qualify.