Pregnant and Changing Jobs

Armen Hareyan's picture
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I am planning to change jobs, but I am also pregnant. Should I be concerned about qualifying for health insurance coverage?

Federal law provides some degree of protection for pregnant women who change jobs. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), pregnancy cannot be considered a pre-existing condition for a woman who is changing jobs if she was previously covered by a group health insurance plan. If you had insurance at your old job, you can't be denied health insurance coverage at your new job simply because you are pregnant. However, this doesn't necessarily mean your worries are over.

Although most health insurance policies provide coverage for maternity care and pregnancy, it's important to check the specifics of your new employer's health insurance plan to make sure you are covered. HIPPA doesn't protect your right to maternity and pregnancy coverage if your employer doesn't offer it.

If you didn't have health insurance before you started your new job, or if you were covered by an individual health insurance policy, you do not qualify for the protection offered under HIPAA. In this case, you might be subject to a pre-existing condition waiting period under your new employer's health insurance policy.

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Many companies also require you to be employed for 30 days or more before you become eligible for coverage. That may not be a problem if you are early on in your pregnancy and have the resources to pay for one or two prenatal visits out of your own pocket. If you are nearing the end of your term, however, a few weeks without health insurance could be financially disastrous.

You may be eligible for coverage under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) through your former employer. However, this will generally require you to pay the full premium.

Keep in mind that some employers don't provide health insurance coverage at all. And being caught without group health insurance can be a serious problem for a pregnant woman. Individual coverage may be an option, but you may find it difficult to find an insurer who will cover you if you're already pregnant. In addition, the premiums on such a policy could be extremely high.

As you can see, it's important to do some careful planning before making a career move when you are pregnant. To protect your health and the health of your baby, make sure you completely understand the employer's health insurance plan and eligibility requirements before accepting a new job.

Used with permission from Insurance.com

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