Starting a family is an exciting (and terrifying) time. There are a number of things to think about from coming up with names for the baby, to preparing a nursery, to making sure you have all the right food and supplies to make sure your baby has the right start in life. The costs of preparing for a newborn to join your family can be incredibly high, so the last thing you want to deal with on top of all these preparations is costly medical bills. That is why maternity insurance is so vital. Not only will it reduce your costs at a time when you need to be saving for your future, but it will also mean you can have a more relaxed and enjoyable pregnancy and delivery experience.
Roughly 25% of people taking out health insurance plans are looking to start a family in the next couple of years. When choosing insurers, maternity coverage should therefore be high on the list of important criteria on offer. Choosing the right insurer with the right plan for you and your needs lifts a huge weight off your shoulders when you eventually want to start your family. Most pregnancies and deliveries are predictable and straightforward, but if things do go wrong (touch wood they won’t) it is essential to have good coverage to ensure any unfortunate scenario is cared for and covered for, for both the mother and the newborn.
We work with more than 60 international health insurance companies, which allows us to offer you a range of services whatever your individual maternity needs and desires. CHI have the widest range of maternity insurance coverage options for expats and Chinese nationals in the whole of China.
Maternity Insurance covers the costs to your family associated with your pregnancy, giving birth, and limited newborn care as well. With International Maternity Insurance, you’ll have access to the best hospitals and doctors in China as well as the rest of the world. If you want to have your baby overseas, there are plans that will accommodate you in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and beyond. Policies can differ widely depending on the insurer you use and the plan you choose, however there are some common benefits that all international insurers with include in their maternity coverage. These include;
Pre-natal and post-natal treatments and examinations
Routine deliveries without complications
Deliveries with complications
Medically prescribed C-sections (Caesarian Sections)
Delivery after fertility treatments
If you need any coverage that isn’t provided as standard, or you want more in-depth coverage for any of the above benefits, then we can help you to find a plan that will cater to what you want. Extras and add-ons include such things as Fertility Treatments (e.g. IVF), and Emergency Evacuation.
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Understanding Maternity Insurance
To help you understand your maternity insurance policy fully, we’ll show you the categories we break a policy down into. Each category you must carefully consider before making any decisions. If you are confused about anything to do with your maternity insurance policy, don’t hesitate to contact our advisors, we will be happy to help.
The categories include: Maternity coverage in USD, Maternity costs per pregnancy or per policy year, Maternity waiting period, Waiting period to conception or delivery, Complications of pregnancy cover, Complications of delivery cover, Pre/Post natal treatment, Home delivery coverage, IVF/Fertility treatment cover, IVF/Fertility treatment waiting period, Medically assisted pregnancies, Elective C-sections, Emergency/Medically required C-sections, Newborn coverage, Congenital abnormalities, Newborn underwriting, Second child C-section, and Multiple births from IVF/Fertility treatment.
How to Get Started
It is important to start planning early when dealing with maternity insurance. As we will see below, insurers impose waiting periods on maternity policies so that you cannot claim benefits on them within the first 12 months (typically) so you must plan far enough ahead that you will be prepared and covered when you want to start a family.
Some things you need to factor into your maternity insurance plan include; which insurer you want to start a policy with, what type of plan you want (the extent of your coverage), and the time it will take to choose these things, have the policy underwritten, and then activated. If you (or your spouse) gets pregnant before these things have been finalised you may be ineligible for some benefits. This depends on the details of your plan, and the waiting periods. For any help understanding parts of your maternity plan, or choosing between insurers and plans, contact us.
Waiting periods are a very important factor you must take into account when buying maternity insurance. Insurers put a waiting time on new maternity insurance plans that you must see out before you can make any claims for benefits relating to your pregnancy. These waiting periods are typically 10-12 months depending on the insurer you use. What this means is that you need to plan a year ahead before trying to start a family to have all post-natal care and the delivery costs guaranteed covered. Waiting periods can be applied in two ways that may help to further clarify what they are and why they are important. These versions are (i) Waiting Periods from the start of your plan, and (ii) Waiting periods that last until conception.
From the Start of the Plan; These policies specify an amount of time you have to wait before claiming for any benefits on the policy. If the waiting period is 10 months, then if you receive any maternity treatment within those 10 months, you must pay these costs yourself and cannot claim them back later. Once the waiting period is over, all future costs can be claimed back on your maternity insurance policy. So if you were to get pregnant 6 months into your waiting period, you could claim for the last 5 months of your pregnancy as well as for delivery costs, but not for any treatment costs for the first 4 months. To avoid having to pay any costs yourself, make sure you plan far enough ahead that you can wait the entire waiting period before incurring any pregnancy related costs.
Last Until Conception; Policies with this type of waiting period require you to be on their policy for the entirety of the waiting period before you are able to conceive (with coverage). If the waiting period is 10 months, this means you must wait 10 months before conceiving. If you get pregnant before the end of the waiting period, then you are not eligible for coverage for the entirety of your pregnancy. Make sure you check if your insurer has this type of waiting period before you start your family so that you don’t end up having to pay thousands of dollars for something you thought you were covered for.
Typically, the cost breakdown of a pregnancy are; 15% of the costs on pre-natal care, 75% of the costs on delivery, and 10% of the costs on post-natal care. With this in mind, you can decide whether you want full coverage (through waiting the full period before conceiving), or whether you want to start your family earlier and - through a waiting period from the start of the plan - have the latter part of your pregnancy’s costs covered. Be warned that pre-natal care can cost thousands of USD, and so you may want to wait the full waiting period.
The healthcare costs of maternity have risen dramatically in recent times all around the world, and especially in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. This is because more people need maternity healthcare, and it is more common now to have children later in life (which increases the chance of problems occurring), or through assisted pregnancy means.
A pregnancy being cared for at a private hospital can easily cost USD 20,000 and that is for a smooth running pregnancy and delivery. If there are complications with your pregnancy, then costs can spiral out of control and you can be left with seemingly insurmountable bills. Maternity insurance is therefore vital to ensure you receive top quality care with minimal expense.
Coverage for Your Newborn
Most International Maternity Health Insurance plans will include coverage for your newborn child for a limited amount of time. The length of time will vary from insurer to insurer and plan to plan, so be sure to check your particular plan. Some insurers offer full coverage, with high premiums to cover this. Other insurers will place financial caps on newborn benefits or time-limits on their post-natal cover. Newborn coverage means that should any medical treatments be required for your newborn, you will be insured and won’t have to pay what can amount to a very expensive bill (if complications occur). All newborns will incur some expenses for things like vaccinations, and basic health checks, but you need to make sure you are prepared for the unexpected as complications can run up astronomical costs. Make sure to check the particulars with your insurer.
Many Maternity Insurance policies will have stipulations for assisted pregnancies (such as those from IVF treatments), and also regarding second pregnancies (and third etc.) the latter is especially important if you had a c-section for your first child. Both of these pregnancy types can increase the price of your maternity insurance plan significantly. If this affects you, contact us to discuss your Maternity Insurance plan options.
Can I Choose the Doctor and Hospital?
Most of our high quality health plans will let you choose which doctor and hospital you want for the duration of your pregnancy. Please check policy details to ensure that if you have a specific doctor or hospital in mind, you can have your choice. Furthermore, you can check whether your insurer will allow direct billing for your maternity insurance policy. This prevents you from paying for treatments upfront and getting reimbursed later. Instead, payments are directly settled between the hospital and your insurer.
Can I Move Mid-Pregnancy?
Something that will be important to those of you who are habitual expats, want to deliver your child in your home country, or are just planning on moving during your pregnancy is how your policy handles you changing countries. Some policies will simply not allow this, and so upon moving your policy will be cancelled and you won’t be able to receive any further benefits or claim back any costs after you have moved. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure that your policy will allow you to move countries at the start, before signing anything. Furthermore, those in countries with poorer standards of healthcare may need to get emergency evacuation coverage in the event that they have to be airlifted to a hospital in another country.
What if I’m Already Pregnant?
If you are looking for maternity insurance, but are already pregnant, it will be hard for you to find coverage. In fact, we do not know of any international insurance companies that will provide full insurance coverage for people who are already pregnant. However, some aspects of your pregnancy will still be able to be covered in parts. These include if your pregnancy suffers complications (such as ectopic pregnancies, or gestational diabetes), or if your newborn baby has any complications or suffers any serious illness. It therefore may be beneficial for you, if you are already pregnant, to buy whatever insurance is available to cover any ‘worst case’ scenarios. For information about which insurers will offer you some coverage, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.