Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but few women find the expenses of pregnancy -- which include regular doctor's visits, lab tests and the delivery itself -- very exciting. If you change jobs when you're pregnant, you might be concerned about health insurance, but in most cases your new health insurance plan will be required to cover your pregnancy.
Under federal law, employer-sponsored health insurance companies are prohibited from treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. When you change jobs, your new health insurance plan has to cover prenatal care and the delivery, unless the plan offers no maternity coverage. Employers are permitted to offer plans without maternity coverage, so it's crucial that you review the plan before you sign up, and you may want to look at the plan even before you consider the new job.
If you switch to a job that doesn't offer health insurance or provides no maternity coverage, you'll lose your insurance. Similarly, if you quit or are fired and don't have another job lined up, you could lose health insurance coverage. Going into business for yourself might be an exciting option that gives you more flexibility when the baby comes, but it also means you'll no longer have employer-sponsored healthcare.
The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act gives some employees the right to continue their health insurance coverage -- often at a higher rate -- for a temporary period after leaving their jobs. You'll have to be terminated, laid off or experience a reduction in hours to be eligible; quitting your job generally means you can't get COBRA. Your employer will also have to have more than 20 employees, and you'll need to be insured at the time of your departure from the company to be eligible.
If you can't get COBRA and your new job doesn't offer maternity coverage, you have a few options. You might try self insurance, which is often more expensive and frequently excludes maternity coverage. It will, however, cover emergencies such as a hemorrhage during childbirth. Paying out of pocket is another option, and some doctors and hospitals offer discounts for patients who pay in cash, so talk with your care provider about your options. Medicaid pays for 40 percent of all U.S. births, according to Medicaid.gov, and if you meet state income and other eligibility requirements, you can apply for Medicaid to fund the remainder of your pregnancy.
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