4 things you need to check before choosing maternity insurance
Who says the best things in life are free? Even the joy of motherhood today comes with a price tag. There are so many expenses to consider – antenatal doctor visits, diagnostics, the delivery itself. Then, you may want the frills such as antenatal classes, lactation counselling, dietician care. Not to mention alternative birthing plans like a water birth. And that’s not the end. There are post-natal costs to factor – hospital stay, nursery costs, vaccinations for the new baby…
All costs associated with maternity are not just for the baby alone. Post-childbirth there is a considerable cost to health care of the new mother. Add to that expenses related to childcare support such as nanny or daycare centres. It is also a time when some women take a career break, that may or may not be supported by companies. No doubt this is a life-altering event and can be overwhelming.
So how to take away the stress of having a baby?
Plan for it. Save for it. Create a fund before you even start thinking of starting a family. And take advantage of the several maternity insurance packages available in the market.
Most insurance providers, as well as corporate employers, offer maternity policies that take care of your pregnancy-related expenses. Some policies include new-born care including vaccinations for the first year.
Before you decide on which policy to pick, here are some points for you to factor:
The waiting period
Most maternity policies kick in after a waiting period. This means that you cannot take a policy AFTER you get pregnant. You need to have a policy with maternity cover for between three to four years before you actually get pregnant. You can take a separate maternity insurance policy but it is a better option to take it as an add-on rider with your general health insurance policy as the premium will be lesser. Ask your policy provider for a no-claim bonus or re-insurance discount for the years that you do not raise a claim.
Read the fine print
Make sure that your policy covers pre- and post-pregnancy scenarios. Check how many days of hospitalisation your policy gives before and after delivery. Check whether it includes doctor consultations. Also check all the inclusions – doctor fee, nursing charges, room charges. Diagnostics like ultrasounds and other tests for gestational diabetes also come at a price. Do check to see if these are included in the policy. Check the upper limit for Caesarean and normal delivery.
When you need help getting pregnant
According to a report by Ernst & Young 27.5 million couples in India suffer from infertility and the number is only expected to go up. Given the high costs of infertility treatments, there are special insurance policies catering to cover it. But be warned these policies generally do not cover maternity costs, but only the treatment costs.
Planning for emergencies
When taking a policy, also look into the emergency clauses. Keeping your lifestyle in mind, you might want a policy which includes the cost of ambulances, air evacuation and even international air-lift. Some policies also cover miscarriages.
Practical planning for costs may seem out of place with warm fuzzy images of a newborn child. But if you want to truly enjoy the phase of motherhood, a little financial planning can go a long way.