Does health insurance have maternity benefits?
Health insurance usually provides coverage for the insured in case he is hospitalized due to illness or accident. However many insurers have included pregnancy or maternity benefits in health insurance subject to few conditions.
Maternity benefit basically means coverage for prenatal care i.e. cover for medical and nursing expenses before and after pregnancy. The coverage typically includes hospitalization expenses during pregnancy, new born baby health cover, vaccinations as well as pre and post hospitalization expenses for specified number of days. The pre and post hospitalization includes doctor’s fees, diagnostic tests etc.
Health insurers provide maternity cover after few months (usually 2 years or more) have passed from the inception of policy. The regular checkups and pregnancy medicines are also not covered. There is also a limit to number of deliveries covered under the plan.
Why do insurers not provide maternity benefits immediately?
Insurers usually do not provide maternity benefits immediately at the inception of policy as it is not a sustainable practice. Say a couple, who is expecting a baby in say the next month will buy such a cover for a nominal premium and expect the insurer to pay upwards of Rs. 25,000. This is certainly not a viable option. Insurers will be forced to increase the premium of such policies and there will be other moral hazards as well. This will as well defeat the premise of insurance being a hedge against unknown possible risk. Of course, this is applicable for individual and family floater policies.
Corporate Health Insurance policies might provide for immediate coverage of maternity benefits. The game is different over there, with the insurance risk being spread over hundreds of employees.
How can I cover maternity expenses through insurance cover?
Consider health insurance as a long term investment. Renewing health insurance every year supports you in getting additional benefits such as coverage of maternity benefits at an early stage. Buy a health insurance cover for the family when you get married. Preferably buy a policy which supports maternity benefits at an early stage. There are plans in the market which provide maternity benefits after 2 renewals. This will help cover maternity costs. Some plans also cover a new born baby without additional premium.
Compare Health Insurance and Check Premium