Current Weather
The Spy FM

Gaps In Maternity Coverage For Some Women Could Grow Under Health Law

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
August 7, 2012

There’s been a lot of controversy over the health care overhaul’s requirement that most health plans this month to start covering contraceptive services for women as a free preventive benefit.

But that requirement may prevent some young women from falling into a coverage gap of a different kind: no maternity coverage.

Individual health insurance policies have long been criticized by women’s health advocates for their frequent failure to cover maternity benefits for women. According to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center, only 12 percent of plans in the individual market provide maternity coverage.

But group plans aren’t necessarily any better. Although the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires health plans to provide maternity coverage to employees and their spouses at companies with 15 or more workers, it doesn’t require such coverage for other dependents such as adult children.

Under the health care overhaul, children can stay on their parents’ plans until they reach age 26 under many circumstances, including if they’re married, living on their own and financially independent. The expanded coverage window means that more of them will likely become pregnant while on mom and dad’s plan, say women’s health experts.

Starting in 2014, the law will require coverage of 10 “essential health benefits” in individual and small group plans. Maternity and newborn care is one of them.

But in a surprising twist, since health benefits at large companies are typically more comprehensive than those at small companies or individual plans, large group plans don’t have to provide the essential health benefits.

Women’s health advocates hope that the law’s coverage requirements will encourage those companies to step up to the plate and provide dependent maternity benefits anyway.

“We would expect fewer employers to not cover maternity coverage for dependents,” says Dania Palanker, senior health policy adviser at the National Women’s Law Center. “They wouldn’t want to offer less than the essential health benefits.” [Copyright 2012 Kaiser Health News]

One Response to “Gaps In Maternity Coverage For Some Women Could Grow Under Health Law”

  1. law says:

    Law provides a rich source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology. Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, and justice.

Leave a Reply

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center