When President Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, maternity coverage became one of the 10 essential health benefits that had to be covered by all health insurance plans. Maternity coverage includes insurance for pregnancy, labor, delivery, and newborn care. While many Americans had problems with rising premiums under Obamacare, there was no denying that the ACA aimed to provide quality healthcare to as many U.S. citizens as possible. With a new president in office, however, the norm for American healthcare might shift in a very dramatic way. If you are an expectant mother or are planning on having a baby in the near future, it's important to know how much maternity riders cost — and how that cost could be affected by the American Health Care Act (or, as some have taken to calling it, "Trumpcare").
President Donald Trump vowed throughout his campaign and the first few months of his presidency that he would repeal and replace Obamacare, promising to curb the high premiums and create more competition in the market. After the GOP revealed its latest health care plan though, and despite the president's repeated promises, it appears health care is about to get even more expensive, especially for expectant mothers.
Janel George, director of federal reproductive rights at the National Women's Law Center, told CNNMoney that, before the Affordable Care Act, "Only 12 percent of plans on the individual market covered maternity, so women were saddled with having to pay for this because insurance companies didn't have to." While many plans did offer optional maternity riders, these alternate options could cost women up to $1,000 per month, as well as the fact that they had to be purchased months before women even became pregnant. This could become the norm for maternity care again if Trump's health care plan makes it through the Senate.
Back in March, CNNMoney reported that the total price charged for pregnancy, delivery, and newborn care ranged widely, however, the price averaged at about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a cesarean section. The news outlet reported that commercial insurers would typically pay out an average between $18,329 and $27,866, which helps significantly cut down how much money new mothers must pay out of pocket for maternity coverage. These numbers, though, are at risk of changing very soon.
According to The Independent, a completed pregnancy "with no or minor complications" would see a premium hike of $17,060. If that doesn't sound bad enough, it breaks down to a 425 percent increase for pregnant women. This serious premium hike would occur because under this new healthcare amendment, insurance companies would be allowed to charge more money from those with pre-existing conditions for coverage. Under Trumpcare, a completely health pregnancy would be considered a pre-existing condition.
Despite telling Wolf Blitzer that “nobody is going to be better on women’s health issues than Donald Trump” at a New Hampshire campaign stop during the election, the president is utterly failing women with his healthcare plans. By categorizing pregnancy as a pre-existing condition and giving states the ability to opt out of Obamacare's essential health benefits, which guarantee maternity care, women will undoubtedly suffer. They will end up paying more for quality coverage or be unable to afford any coverage at all.