There is a new phenomena that is occurring with insurance plans and it seems to be flying under the radar. Many policies do not cover maternity. This means if you are planning to have a baby, you have to pay more for a policy OR for some insurance companies, purchase a rider that covers pregnancy and birth. Employers may have to offer several plans, one which offers pregnancy coverage. Some may choose not to and the employee will have to purchase a rider.
I have yet to see a reasonable explanation of the thinking as to why maternity is not included in plans. Some have put forth the notion that since they are not going to have children it shouldn’t be included in a plan. Pregnancy is also considered a pre existing condition by some plans. Imagine that, pregnancy as a disease! If that is the case then why not include many of the other disease process that in the long haul are much more expensive. Why has maternity been singled out?
One of the Republican House bills, by Marsha Blackburn, is the concept of purchasing insurance policies across state lines. The plan is to open markets for people in any state. Currently, states determine what is mandated in policies like maternity. If this bill allowing purchasing across state lines is approved, it would eliminate control of any mandates. It would also allow lower premiums for healthier people and difficulty finding plans for people with chronic disease.
What is very concerning to me is the push for plans that do not include pregnancy and maternity, mastectomies, breast cancer, and cancer screening (annual pap smears). An not surprising prostate surgery and testing is being eliminated. There is also pre existing conditions being kept as a denial for coverage.
Part of the rationale is that people will be able to find insurance that is cheaper and it will bring down costs. This idea is laden with many pitfalls. As more people purchase across state lines, two thinks will happen. First, prices will actually begin to rise because as the companies begin to pay out more money for healthcare, they will raise the premiums as profits will fall. Since there will not be universal contracted negotiated rates, the law will have to mandate all providers to accept all insurance. How is that different than mandating health insurance? Second, accessibility to providers will become a major issue due to credentialing and state regulations.
Why are women’s services and care being targeted? It is has been the way of insurance companies for decades. Women in the past, were allowed only one day inpatient for birth while mastectomies were considered day surgery . I am concerned this is becoming a norm that women’s care is subject to extra cost for services. For me, I don’t buy the line of some people don’t want to pay for these services and shouldn’t have to. Should we take a look at all the diseases, evaluate statistically whether men or women are more effected and create cost and plans accordingly? Crazy!
Interestingly, there is no change in infertility treatment payments. So the logic is, I will pay for you to get pregnant but not to have the baby? Infertility treatments are frequently more costly than normal pregnancy and birth!
Where is the outrage by the Congresswomen? How can this be a valid plan? Isn’t this discrimination? Are women being penalized for being women and creating life? Is this the theme of the new Congress reduce insurance coverage for basic services for women?
Did you guess…. I don’t support this thinking. I don’t support it because women should not be penalized and pay higher premiums because of the anatomy of their bodies.