My wife is currently 12 weeks pregnant. She has insurance, so we thought she would have maternity coverage -- the Affordable Care Act requires all plans to provide it. But because she purchased her insurance plan before the ACA was passed in 2010, her provider is not required to cover her pregnancy. Obamacare allows people to join or add coverage outside of regular enrolment period only if there is a “life-changing event.” Currently, these events include divorce, marriage, and a new baby, but they don’t include pregnancy. This means that new mothers like my wife aren’t able to get coverage when they become pregnant -- that they have to wait until their child is born before they’re eligible for special enrolment.
We are now struggling to pay for her pregnancy out of pocket, and she is not able to sign up for any insurance until the regular enrollment period in November. And even then, her coverage will not be effective until January 1st. Her due date is January 7th. That is quite a gamble. Pregnancy is expensive even with medical insurance, but without it, it's almost prohibitive, putting our child at risk. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, lack of prenatal care place both women and their babies in increased danger of complications and death, and maternal mortality is three to four times higher among women who do not receive prenatal care. That is a risk I would rather not take with the lives of my wife and child.
Recently, New York passed a law requiring insurance providers to consider pregnancy a life-changing event. This means they will be able to immediately enroll and receive the services they need to give them the best chance at having a happy and healthy pregnancy. California isn’t far behind.
We feel that Colorado should join them. Pregnancies are often unplanned, making limited enrollment periods impractical for many women. Please join us in asking Colorado to join NY and CA and require insurance companies to allow enrollment at any time during a woman’s pregnancy. Lives depend on it.