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Understanding Waiting Periods: Key Considerations for Expats Seeking Maternity Coverage

International health insurance policies with maternity coverage have a waiting period between when the policy begins and when coverage for maternity expenses related to pregnancy and delivery will be covered. Secure a policy before becoming pregnant, and wait until coverage begins to conceive.

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Are you trying to understand what maternity insurance waiting periods are? Perhaps you would like to know what you should do if you are already pregnant and do not have maternity insurance.

Keep reading to find answers to your questions about maternity insurance waiting periods, including infertility treatments and more. Pacific Prime will explain what a waiting period is, why waiting periods exist, and share examples of maternity insurance waiting periods from some of the best maternity insurance providers.

For additional resources on maternity insurance for expats, also see Pacific Prime’s maternity insurance coverage page.

Expat Maternity Coverage Waiting Period Basics

Caucasian Pregnant Woman Holding Belly

International medical insurance plans for expats have waiting periods before coverage for maternity (pregnancy and delivery) expenses are covered by insurance. The waiting period is the length of time between when the premium payments begin and coverage starts.

The waiting period is set by the insurance company and the policy. If you want a shorter waiting period, you need to choose an insurer with a shorter waiting period offer.

For prenatal appointments to be covered, you will need to select and begin coverage before becoming pregnant.

Why Does Expat Maternity Insurance Have Waiting Periods

Expat maternity insurance has waiting periods to help offset the cost of providing maternity insurance benefits. The waiting period is a length of time when the insurance company is collecting premiums from policyholders to prepare for the medical costs of pregnancy and delivery.

In places like Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where maternity insurance waiting periods are waived, the premiums for maternity insurance are much higher than in other places. That’s because the insurance company is offsetting the cost of maternity benefits over a shorter period.

The best route for balancing the premiums and the waiting period is to opt into a comprehensive international medical insurance policy with maternity coverage a couple of years before planning to start or grow your family.

Expat Maternity Insurance Waiting Period Examples

Most expat maternity insurance plans have waiting periods between one to two years. That means you will need to select a policy one to two years before conception or almost two to three years before delivery.

Not all plans cover pregnancy and childbirth complications the same. Be sure to balance the optimal coverage and the waiting period appropriately to ensure the plan is a good fit for your family.

Here are some of the best expat maternity insurance providers and their waiting periods:

Expat Maternity Insurance Providers and Their Waiting Periods
International Insurance Provider Waiting Period
VUMI 12 Months
Allianz Care 10 or 18 Months
AXA Global 18 Months
Cigna 24 Months
GeoBlue 12 Months

Expat Maternity Insurance Waiting Period Exceptions

Pregnant Woman By Crib In White Dress

International health insurance companies require waiting periods for maternity coverage where allowed. In the United Arab Emirates, residents and visa holders are required to have maternity insurance coverage by law. The waiting period is waived in the UAE as a result.

Be advised that the international health insurance premiums in the UAE reflect this additional coverage with a waived waiting period. It’s also important to note that while the waiting period is waived within the UAE with the proper plan, there is no coverage outside of the UAE until after the waiting period.

This means that if you are an expat living primarily in Dubai, there is no waiting period for maternity coverage in Dubai with your international health insurance plan. If you travel outside of the UAE during the normal waiting period, however, there is no coverage for pregnancy-related expenses.

Expat Infertility Treatment Coverage Waiting Periods

Keep in mind that waiting periods for maternity coverage include benefits related to infertility investigation and treatment. The best bet when selecting international health insurance coverage is to select a plan with comprehensive coverage and maternity benefits before starting a family.

The World Health Organization found that 1 in 6 individuals are affected by infertility

Expat maternity insurance plans don’t always include infertility investigation and treatment. If you know or suspect that one or both partners may have an infertility concern, select maternity insurance with infertility coverage.

Here are some insurance providers with infertility coverage:

  • Cigna offers infertility investigation and treatment after a 24-month waiting period on its Platinum Plan.
  • VUMI covers infertility treatments after a 24-month waiting period with a 25% coinsurance. The benefit limit for IVF is USD $2,500 per attempt and a lifetime limit of USD $10,000.
  • Morgan Price’s Evolution Health Premium Plan and Evolution Health Elite Plans have some infertility treatment coverage options.

Already Pregnant: What to Do About Maternity Insurance

Pregnant Woman Cradling Her Belly

International health insurance providers do not cover maternity expenses for a new policyholder who is already pregnant. Options will be limited, but don’t give up hope. Reach out to an insurance expert for customized assistance in finding an international health insurance plan.

Insurance companies protect themselves financially by avoiding risks. Covering an already pregnant woman presents a large risk, so pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition by most insurance providers.

You may be eligible for some medical insurance coverage on a plan with pre-existing condition coverage. You may also be able to find a plan that will offer coverage that excludes any pregnancy or childbirth-related expenses. These options will be better than no coverage at all.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the waiting period for expat maternity insurance coverage?

Expat maternity insurance plans have a waiting period of 10 to 24 months, depending on the plan and insurance company. Ideally, you will want to enroll in the plan and wait to conceive so that all of your prenatal care will be covered following the waiting period.

What is an insurance waiting period?

An insurance waiting period is the amount of time between when you begin paying premiums on a policy and when you are eligible for benefits. International maternity and dental insurance plans frequently have waiting periods before you can receive benefits.

Do you need expat maternity insurance?

International health insurance plans only cover prenatal visits, labor and delivery costs, and other pregnancy and delivery-related expenses if you have maternity insurance as part of your policy. Without maternity insurance coverage, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all these costs.

What does a waiting period mean for pregnancy?

The waiting period on expat maternity insurance means that prenatal appointments and other pregnancy-related expenses will not be covered until the waiting period has passed. For this reason, you should enroll in a maternity insurance plan 12 to 24 months before becoming pregnant.

Conclusion: Shopping for Expat Maternity Insurance

The best way to shop for expat maternity insurance is to comparison shop. Consider multiple insurers and plans to find one that is a good fit for your family planning needs, budget, and other medical coverage needs. You may want to choose one with infertility investigation and treatment.

Pacific Prime makes it easy to comparison shop for maternity insurance plans to cover you abroad. As an insurance broker, Pacific Prime is partnered with multiple companies to offer free and impartial insurance advice. You’ll be able to find and compare quotes from insurance companies around the world.

Pacific Prime also boasts a dedicated claims support team to help clients have the most satisfactory insurance experience possible. With regional offices in multiple places around the world, we are well-suited to help you no matter where your adventures or career take you.

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral