If you’re an expat planning on having a baby you need to make sure you have enough insurance in place to cover the whole process. A good policy will cover prenatal care, complications, delivery and routine newborn care. If you a living in a country with public healthcare of a standard lower than you would like, maternity insurance will provide you with access to good quality, private care.
There are many expat health insurance programmes out there, but to find the one that suits you always read the small print. Most international health insurers include a maternity cover option, but all have a “waiting period” which means you must buy cover before you conceive.
Things to ask about when buying maternity cover
1. Waiting period – Pregnancy is considered a pre-exisiting condition, so most insurers won’t cover you once you’re “in the family way”. This may not be the case if you join a group policy. For any claims to be accepted you will have to wait eight to ten months depending on the insurer.
The definition of a waiting period varies – in some policies it means after eight months you can claim for maternity related expenses. In others, it means in order to make a claim, you cannot become pregnant for eight months after joining.
2. Age limit – Most international insurers won’t provide cover for women over 44 years of age. This is because women older than this are considered high risk for complications and possible birth defects.
3. Complications – Everyone hopes for a smooth and uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and you need to know what your insurance covers and what it excludes. Some insurers include complications during pregnancy as outpatient care, while others put it in your maternity policy.
Complications during birth are also sometimes included as inpatient treatment, this is good for you because it means complications don’t erode your maternity coverage.
4. Congenital defects – Not all expat insurance covers congenital defects, whether undiagnosed or not. Check your policy, some do not cover them at all, some cover defects partially by instigating a time limit (35 days of hospital stay for example), while others cover 100%.
5. Newborn care – Most policies cover regular newborn care, doctors visits and standard tests. If your baby is premature or requires specialist treatment your policy may not cover you fully. A newborn child should be added to your insurance policy within four weeks of being born. An additional premium is usually added to cover the newborn, though some insurers offer discounts which expats should ask about.
Most insurers exclude: voluntary caesarean section and premature or multiple births following fertility treatment.