Maternity insurance for expats: don’t wait for pregnancy!
Written by Joseph Regan on April 06, 2017.
Maternity insurance is often overlooked by expats, but it is worth thinking about if you’re a young female, even if pregnancy is off your radar. I always bring this up with female clients for one simple reason: you cannot purchase fully comprehensive maternity cover once you are pregnant. Most policies require that you get maternity insurance 12 months (yes, you heard me, one whole year) before you get pregnant. Talk about family planning!
That means if you get pregnant, then want to purchase insurance to cover all the bills (pre-natal scans, delivery, coverage for complications, insurance for the child after he or she is born… the whole shebang), you’re out of luck. No insurance will pick you up. It’s almost like trying to purchase medical insurance after you break your arm.
Even the most problem-free pregnancies involve pre-natal regular check-ups, while a straightforward birth will require at the very least a hospital room and basic midwifery care. Actually, a swift survey of friends and family who have had children reveals that more often than not there are complications during childbirth, requiring an obstetrician, a C-section, or post-natal care for mother and/or the new-born, all of which can be costly.
There are a few things you need to consider when choosing a policy. Some have a maximum cover limit, meaning anything over that limit must be paid for by you. It is impossible to predict how well your pregnancy will go, so it’s advisable to take out a high quality policy to avoid paying more. It’s your baby and your pregnancy, it’s not the time to cut cost.
However, keep in mind that premiums can sometimes be lowered if you opt for co-insurance. This is when you split the cost of treatment with the insurance company. For example, a 10% co-insurance plan means they cover 90% of the cost and you only pay 10%.
Fertility treatment is another area to think about. Once you decide you want a baby you could discover that you need assistance. One in ten babies in the UK will soon be conceived by IVF. IVF isn’t cheap, but luckily it is possible to take out cover which includes fertility treatment.
Another (non-recommended) option is not getting insurance at all. Some hospitals offer maternity plans where you pay a lump sum beforehand, and that covers child delivery and a few other basics. But the big problem with not getting insurance/going through a hospital is 1) it’s much more expensive (often double or triple the cost of insurance) and 2) it won’t cover you in case a complication arises. You’ll have to come out of pocket and pay for extremely expensive procedures if they happen.
For these reasons, it’s highly recommended to not mess around and get insurance. This really hits home for me as well, since a family member very close to me had a stillbirth. Every year in the USA about 25,000 – 68 babies every day – are born still; that’s about one in every 115 births. It was a traumatizing event, something you’d never wish upon your worst enemy, but luckily she did have a solid insurance plan in place. In a way, it made things a bit easier and definitely much cheaper.
Solve a problem before it happens and don’t until it’s too late – act now to ensure that your medical requirements during pregnancy and childbirth will be covered. For more info, feel free to call me on +86 152 2182 4499, or email me at jregan@infinitysolutions.