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Maternity insurance: What are “waiting periods”?

Maternity insurance puzzles scores of women each year – and, more often than not, the source of confusion is “waiting periods”. Many are disappointed when they find out that this clause requires them to secure maternity insurance before getting pregnant. So, whether you’re already pregnant or thinking about doing so, this Pacific Prime article will explain maternity insurance, waiting periods, as well as lay down all your options.

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What does maternity insurance cover?

Maternity insurance covers things like pre- and post-natal care, routine vaginal delivery, as well as medically necessary C-sections. If you opt for an international plan, as opposed to a local one, you’ll also be able to access care whilst overseas. Of course, the exact details will vary depending on your chosen insurer and plan.

Nevertheless, one thing that all maternity insurance plans will have is: “waiting periods”. Once you’ve secured the insurance, you’ll have to wait for a specific amount of time before your plan kicks in and you can make claims. Typically, waiting periods are at least 10 to 12 months long.

The reason why you’ll be hard-pressed to find a maternity insurance plan without some kind of waiting period is because most insurers want to prevent policyholders from securing insurance when they’re already pregnant as there is a 100% guarantee they will be making claims.

How do “waiting periods” work?

To reap the full benefits of maternity insurance, you’ll have to plan for a family in advance. This means securing maternity insurance, checking the waiting period, and then trying for a child. If you get pregnant after the waiting period elapses, then you’ll be covered immediately from day 1 of your conception date.

Let’s assume you bought your policy on the 1st of January 2020, which has a waiting period of 12 months. Ideally, this means you should aim to get pregnant after 1st January 2021. Now, what if you get pregnant well before your waiting period elapses? After all, it’s difficult to plan precisely when you’ll get pregnant.

In this case, your policy will still kick in after 1st January 2021. What you’ll be covered for will depend on how much time you have left before your waiting period expires. Here are three hypothetical scenarios of your conception date and what you can expect to be covered for:

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
Conception 1st Sept. 20 1st Jun. 20 1st Apr. 20
Delivery 1st May. 21 1st Feb. 21 1st Dec. 20
Pre-natal? Yes After 1st Jan. 21 No
Delivery? Yes Yes No
Newborn? Yes Yes Yes*

* Newborn coverage is subject to policy terms and conditions

Generally speaking, when compared to other maternity treatments, the cost of giving birth is the highest, so you might still benefit from delivery coverage as this occurs at the end of the pregnancy. What’s more, your baby will also be covered in the event of any complications.

Can I get maternity insurance if I am already pregnant?

Unfortunately, waiting periods tend to leave little room for women to secure maternity insurance when they are already pregnant. However, apart from insurance, there are steps you can take to make sure you and your baby are protected. Make sure you eat healthily and avoid risky behaviors (for instance, drinking or smoking).

Even though you may have to pay out of pocket for it, it’s advisable to go for pre-natal care and tests. It’s especially important if you’re above 35, have pre-existing health conditions, or any other risk factors. This will help monitor your baby’s development, identify any problems early on, as well as to avoid complications during the delivery.

In addition to pre-natal care and tests, you may also want to consider newborn coverage to give your baby the gift of excellent healthcare from the moment they’re born. This is a prudent move for you to take because young immune systems are prone to illnesses.

Looking to delve into maternity insurance? Check out Pacific Prime’s wealth of resources.

Waiting period is just one maternity insurance jargon. Want to learn more about maternity insurance? Pacific Prime can help. Our 2019-2020 International Maternity Insurance guide explains other maternity insurance terms and coverage options, the differences between local and international maternity insurance, and so much more!

Alternatively, for a quick overview of the guide, you can also check out our infographic on the same topic. We’re dedicated to helping our readers navigate the complex world of health insurance – in whatever format or medium that works best! Follow our blog for weekly news, articles, and updates on the latest resource.

If you’re ready to secure maternity insurance, you can also get in touch with our advisors. In some cases, the team comprises women who have first-hand experience of the pregnancy and insurance process. You’ll get personalized and unbiased advice. Contact us today for the best maternity cover for your needs and budget!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

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