By Adhil Shetty
Maternity cover is increasingly gaining popularity amongst young parents-to-be. It is seen as a preventive measure for parents who want to be prepared to face situations like unexpected urgencies due to pregnancy and high costs. Maternity insurance cover includes hospitalisation expenses of the expectant mother along with costs for both normal and caesarean delivery. However, they come with an added premium charge. Here is everything you need to know about maternity health insurance and how to choose the best policy as per your need.
Overview of maternity health insurance
Maternity insurance is offered as an add-on or additional rider along with the main health insurance policy. Many employers also offer maternity rider as part of their corporate group policy to their female employees.
Maternity health insurance coverage
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has issued standard definitions for all maternity related expenses to be followed by every insurer for uniform coverage. Maternity insurance rider covers all major expenses including pre and post hospitalisation costs. This also includes delivery costs, costs for medical tests and medicines along with benefits like protection cover for the new born.
It is, therefore, very important to understand the essential features and benefits of the maternity health insurance policy to make an informed decision.
High premium costs
Premium charges for such plans are higher than plans without a maternity cover. Insurance is based on covering an anticipated risk. The fact that pregnancy is planned and not a risk, it relates to an almost certain event that insurance companies are likely to pay out for. Generally, insurance premiums for health insurance plans with maternity benefits are higher.
Most health insurance policies with maternity cover add-on have a waiting period ranging from 36 months to 72 months. While some insurance plans have reduced the waiting period to less than 1 year, it is always advisable to seek a maternity health insurance policy well in advance.
Policy inclusions and exclusions
Maternity insurance covers offer all pre and post hospitalisation costs for the policyholder. The coverage is for a time period of 30 days prior to delivery and 60 days post delivery.
Hospitalisation costs for maternity cover includes expenses for room rent, doctors’ fee, consultation charges along with practitioner fees, and emergency and ambulance charges.
For any complications that arise during delivery, maternity cover offers protective cover for expenses incurred for treatment of such complications.
New Born Baby Cover
Maternity health insurance policies offer coverage should the new born child be diagnosed with a congenital disorder or some critical illness. The coverage is offered from the day of the birth to next 90 days.
Maternity health insurance plans do not offer coverage for termination of pregnancy (less than 12 weeks). It also does not cover expenses on ectopic pregnancy, In-vitro fertilisation and infertility treatments.
Essential tips for buying an effective maternity health insurance policy
# All maternity health insurance policies have a maximum limit to be paid towards maternity cover ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Any expenses over the limit are to be borne by the policyholder and her family.
# Maximum age of insured for claiming maternity benefit cover is capped at 45 years.
# Claiming the maternity expenses nullifies the NCB of your health insurance plan.
# Maternity benefits are available only for a limited number of deliveries.
Maternity health insurance plans are a good way to ensure your future maternity costs are partially covered. Compare the extra cost of premiums and the waiting period before evaluating the cost effectiveness of maternity health insurance plans.
(The author is CEO, Bankbazaar.com)