Its strange how we don’t think about maternity planning or health insurance, while we are young. Less worries in life. Happy times! Our health is usually covered under our family floater health insurance plan. Either it’s family or our employer, depending upon the place of work who have our healthcare covered.

Health care for some reason is taken very lightly in India for some reason. We spend a maximum of our earning looking after our health and health care does take a huge chunk of money from our bank account every month I believe? From prescriptions to supplements to some seasonal disease, you name it, we all have it.

Ageing makes it a requirement for us to invest in our healthcare. Especially given our current lifestyles filled with stress and pollution. Our body goes through a lot on day-to-day basis! We work like machines and just completely forget about our body and somehow also forget to pre-plan or insure our body from any future damage or at least have ourselves capable to handle any given situation with comfort and less stress.

Every day our cost of living increases. Not to mention the crazy inflation in our economy every. By the time you have your future goals set, you will also have to prepare yourself for situations like healthcare which are going to be very expensive. Times are changing, technology is developing, healthcare is developing and so are health care treatments. Everything from the hospital to medicines to the doctor visits to the physiotherapist and what not are getting an update with every growth in science. This development sure demands high costs on the customers/patients too. It’s like a business. What do you do in this situation? Insure yourself! Start planning way in advance.

Planning in advance for healthcare is seriously under-rated and I almost saved myself from being a victim of this self-created situation. I should have known better and now, I do! Hence, this post to help your girls/ladies/women out there who should start young! It’s never too early to get started you know. I am serious and you’ll understand why read on…

MATERNITY HEALTH INSURANCE

As a young woman, I knew that someday I would want to have my own kids. I never took this topic so seriously until now because “Ladki Ki Shaadi Ki Umar Ho Gayi Hai” age bracket I’ve reached. So, I’ve somewhat started taking my life apart from work, my actual self a bit more seriously.

My cousin sister recently had two gorgeous little twins! One boy and a girl. I love my niece and nephew 🙂 Can’t wait for their naming ceremony. Anyhow, on asking how she did it all… she’s a single mom and she had clearly pre-planned everything. However, one thing I noticed is the insane amount of expenses to have comfortable childbirth at a good hospital. Not just that, the expenditure for a newborn baby and their vaccinations, doctor visits, etc. also cost a fortune. It isn’t as simple as it used to be in yesteryears. Times have changed. This made me realize, that family planning post-marriage might not be the best thing to do for today’s women. I’ll tell you why –

WHY TAKE MATERNITY HEALTH INSURANCE AT ALL?

It’s all about convenience really. Preparing and helping yourself for one of the happiest moments of your life without having to worry about enormous expenditure. Some concession to yourself/your partner during childbirth can really be of great help. You won’t know it now, but later when it happens. You’ll definitely thank yourself for reading this article and taking an important decision as a woman. These little benefits of preplanning, give you the liberty to extend yourself extra. Maybe get admitted at a better hospital of your choice? Get treatments for your pregnancy at your comfort? And many more things.

DON’T KNOW WHAT IS MATERNITY INSURANCE? Let Me Help You Understand

Maternity insurance is basically offered as an additional rider or add-on cover with your basic health insurance plan. Maternity insurance covers all the expenses associated with both types of baby delivery options – normal and cesarean. A number of health insurance providers offer maternity benefit as an additional service and thereby minimize your financial burdens.

In some corporate sectors, the women employees are offered maternity benefits along with a health insurance plan. In addition, when it comes to the majority of corporate group health insurance policies, maternity benefit is a rider (add-on benefit) that comes with a sub-limit option that must not exceed Rs 50,000.

Maternity insurance comes with numerous benefits which include pre and post-hospitalization where pre-hospitalization costs are covered up to 30 days prior to the date of admission. With maternity insurance, the expenses like surgeon fee, room and nursing charges, anesthetist consultation and doctor consultation, etc. are also covered. However, it’s very important to have a careful understanding of inclusions and exclusions in maternity insurance in order to make informed financial decisions and to make sure the best use of the insurance plan.

START FAMILY PLANNING BEFORE YOU GET MARRIED / SINCE YOU START GETTING YOUR PERIODS

In India, not many insurance companies provide for maternity health insurance. Health insurance itself is a tricky game. Me, as a consumer I do not know which brand to trust and who to go for! So many claims and so many reviews. One competing with the other and not giving satisfactory services by providing hassle free processed insurance claims. It’s more of a gimmick. But, you’ve got to protect yourself from all these unknown hike in expenses when the time comes. You need to have a sound and relaxed pregnancy regardless of whether you may or may not choose to marry or for any other reason. If you intend to carry your own child, then you need to do what I’m doing (earlier if possible) without depending upon anyone but yourself. After all, it’s about your life and your baby’s life too.

MATERNITY / CHILD BIRTH PLANNING

We all know pregnancy requires a 9-month care process to the actual childbirth. Three main stages, namely, 

  • Prenatal care: the routine checkups and screenings throughout a pregnancy to monitor your and baby’s vitals. This includes outpatient services like gestational diabetes screenings, lab studies, and certain medications.
  • Inpatient services: the costs associated with delivering your baby in a medical facility. Ultrasounds, the anesthesiologist (if you get an epidural), hospital room and board, lab fees, medical supplies, and more.
  • Postnatal care: routine checkups, training, and supplies after your baby is born.

Now all these stages require a lot of doctor visits, tests, medication, hospital admission, ambulance, vaccines, etc. I’m just naming a few of my head. Some have normal pregnancy or even unexpected pregnancy, some IVF or termination of pregnancy due to health reasons. Many many things are included in “maternity” if you will.

However, these steps might stay the same more or less. This process may stay the same. But you or your partner can never be ready enough for pregnancy, unless planned way in advance. This preplanning really helps. Mind you, there’s a catch to being prepared for pregnancy too… even if you have health insurance! I’ll tell you in a bit.

HEALTH INSURANCE WITH MATERNITY BENEFIT

Waiting period in maternity health insurance is the 1st thing you should know!

There is a normal waiting/trail period with every health care insurance. They all have their systems in place and people go for them as per their preference. However, if you are looking for a health insurance, which will cover your pregnancy, then you also need to bare in mind that all maternity health insurance have a waiting period starting from 6 months to 4 years. 

WHAT IS A WAITING PERIOD IN A MATERNITY HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN?

It is the time before which, you cannot make any insurance claim regarding the pregnancy. So lets say, you have a health insurance plan and you take it as soon as you get married. But a good plan with decent premium gives you a 4 year waiting period, and you get pregnant before that. There is no way you can make a claim! You will have to bear all the expenses on your own through your savings/investments/borrow etc. Whatever seems apt at the moment? And not to mention the incredible stress running around the hospital and getting everything done smoothly. It can drain out anyone on this planet.

Maternity health insurance only covers two child births!

That’s right! Majority of the maternity health insurance plans available in India only cover till two pregnancies. Not beyond it. Another thing to bare in mind, if you are looking to get benefit of the health insurance.

CAN I HAVE MORE THAN ONE MATERNITY HEALTH INSURANCE AT A TIME?

Answer: Yes. Choose and plan as per your convenience. Just make sure you’ve got yourself covered with at least one, which will help you throughout your pregnancy/childbirth.

WHICH ARE THE CURRENT BEST MATERNITY HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS?

I’ve created this curated list of three maternity health insurance plans, who’s waiting period is maximum till 3 years and are from trust-able brands. I’ve gone through reviews, their claim clearance rating, their packages and then I’ve narrowed down to these three –

SBI’s General Arogya Premier is a health insurance plans that addresses the specific needs of healthcare with flexible options and offers access to the best medical treatment. It covers

  1. Medical treatment expenses traceable to childbirth ( including complicated deliveries and caesarean sections incurred during hospitalization).
  2. expenses towards lawful medical termination of pregnancy during the Policy Period.

They cover reasonable and customary charges towards maternity expenses during hospitalisation. This policy has maternity expenses covered along with ambulance charges including air ambulance up to INR 1,00,000 and coverage of 60 days for Pre Hospitalisation & 90 days for Post Hospitalisation expenses. It also includes a lot of other medical costs. But, vaccination charges for baby are NOT included.
Waiting Period: 9 months.

Apollo Munich’s Easy Health Insurance covers hospitalization expenses, all daycare procedures, domiciliary/home treatment, maternity expenses, daily cash for choosing shared accommodation is covered with the date of admission and discharge included, and a lot of other medical costs. The plan also gives the choice to add a critical illness cover thereby ensuring an end-to-end cover.
Only the exclusive and premium options cover maternity expenses incurred both before and after the childbirth procedures, and the expenses related to the new-born baby from 1-90 days of age.
Waiting Period: 3 years

Max Bupa’s Heartbeat Family Floater plan provides maternity cover and newborn baby cover. I personally prefer the Gold and Platinum plan. Under this health insurance plan, you can avail maternity coverage as well as newborn baby care including the first year vaccinations. All these three types of sub-plans provide maternity benefits for a maximum of two deliveries. This policy includes the costs towards Maternity ranging between Rs.20,000 up to Rs.1 lakh.
Waiting Period: 2 years – given that the policyholder and spouse are covered under the health insurance policy for two continuous years.

THINGS TO REMEMBER WHILE BUYING MATERNITY HEALTH INSURANCE –

Premium: The amount of premium payable by you as per the coverage you want.

Duration: Duration of the Insurance Scheme

Renewal: How often can you renew? What are the premium charges on renewal?

International Coverage: If the scheme provides international coverage too

Cashless Insurance Plan: When your health insurance offers you with a cashless treatment provision, it means that the health insurance service provider settles the hospital or any other medically related bills with the healthcare provider or hospital, directly. It also means that an insured individual does not face the direct financial burden, especially at the time of hospitalization. So, find out if your maternity health insurance is a cashless plan. 

Individual/Spouse Needed For Insurance: Just check if you can enrol for an individual health policy which covers maternity or it has to be with your respective partner.

**Make sure you know all the details and have nothing to ponder upon**

MY CHECKLIST BEFORE FINALISING A MATERNITY HEALTHCARE INSURANCE PLAN

  • Does it cover prenatal and post-natal expenses?
  • Can I take it as an individual plan or does it have to be taken with my spouse?
  • Waiting period
  • Cashless plan
  • List of network hospitals
  • Claim processing time
  • What is the deductible and co-payment for maternity care?
  • After how many days of birth, baby can be added to the plan?
  • Is the coverage offered, if baby needs to be admitted to the hospital?
  • Are babies vaccination covered for 1 year since birth?
  • Is the coverage offered, if hospital is not part of network.
  • What are the exclusions?
  • Is the coverage offered for caesarean section or if baby is born prematurely or with congenital diseases?
  • Does it cover termination?
  • What is the process for renewal and the renewal premium?

Try to get all of them checked out before you go ahead.

I hope this article was useful for you. My main intention behind creating this blog post was that there is not a single blog post on the whole wide world of internet which answers these simple basic questions. You’ll find tons of information describing every minute details, but not real questions.

I was personally on this journey of getting maternity health insurance for myself and that’s when I did this thorough bullet-proof research to secure my future.

If any of you’ll are curious to know which policy I went for its most likely going to be one of these. Lets see how it goes from here! I’m also learning and discovering as we speak.

xoxo