Yikes! Not All Insurance Plans Cover Childbirth

This is one bill you really don't want to be stuck with.
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By Anisa Arsenault, Associate Editor
Updated April 13, 2017
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Birth control? Covered. Prenatal care? Covered. Labor and delivery? Not necessarily.

While the Affordable Care Act deemed maternity and newborn care “essential health benefits” requiring independent and small group coverage in 2014, that coverage doesn’t extend to dependents still on their parents’ health insurance. By law, adults can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26—which, coincidentally, is also the average age of first-time moms in the US.

This lack of coverage can be a huge problem. Insurance typically foots the bill for $18,329 worth of a vaginal birth and $27,866 of a c-section. And that’s not even the entire cost—new parents are still left to pay $2,244 and $2,669, respectively, out of pocket.

The bulk of these costs—up to 86 percent—is coming from hospitalization.

All hope’s not lost for the younger crowd: Large employer plans may cover maternity care for dependent children. But NPR says it’s common for companies to refuse.

Is this a sort of sex discrimination meets age discrimination? NPR adds that in 2013, the National Women’s Law Center filed sex discrimination complaints against five employers who didn’t cover maternity costs for their employees’ dependents.

Still no response from the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services, where the complaints were filed.

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