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Maternity Coverage: Pregnancy while Living Abroad

Pregnant and living abroad? Consider international maternity insurance coverage. Here's advice for expats who may become pregnant while abroad.

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International Maternity Insurance

Planning to have a baby while living abroad? Or maybe you're supporting your partner who's an expat and wants to start a family soon?

Here's what you need to know about international maternity insurance:

  • Maternity Coverage: This insurance helps with costs related to pregnancy, childbirth, and aftercare.

  • Health Insurance Abroad: You'll also want to look into general health insurance for living abroad. It covers medical emergencies and regular healthcare needs.

  • Existing Health Conditions: If you or your partner have any health issues, find out if they're covered. This is important for getting the right care, including maternity services.

Understanding these insurance options is key for a smooth journey to parenthood while living away from home.

We also encourage all expats to become familiar with their insurance options regarding international health insurance, expat health insurance, and insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions.


Maternity Insurance Waiting Periods

International maternity insurance plans for expats often come with a waiting period of 10 to 24 months before your pregnancy benefits kick in.

During this waiting period, also known as a "moratorium":

  • You must have had your health insurance plan for the full waiting period before your pregnancy is covered.
  • If your full moratorium has not yet passed, you won't be able to make claims on your insurance policy.
  • You'll need to pay for the pregnancy costs until your waiting period ends.

This system is in place to prevent insurance companies from losing too much money upfront and to ensure that members have been paying premiums for a while before covering significant expenses like pregnancy.

How Expat Women Can Plan for Insurance Waiting Periods

Due to the strict nature of waiting periods for international pregnancy coverage, expat women who suspect they will become pregnant in the coming years while they live abroad should secure a health policy with the maternity benefits they want 1 to 2 years in advance.

Researching, selecting, and establishing your pregnancy insurance well before you become pregnant can help guarantee that your prenatal, postpartum, labor and delivery, and newborn expenses are insured and covered by your insurance provider.

If you know you want to become pregnant with a child sooner than 10 - 24 months from now, reach out to our insurance experts, and we will talk you through the options you have.


Insurance Providers With the Best Insurance for Pregnancy

The expat insurance providers with the best international insurance for pregnancy are VUMI, Allianz Care, AXA, and Cigna Global. All of these providers include worldwide coverage, routine maternity care, pregnancy and childbirth complications, insured c-sections, and newborn care.

Each of these providers is phenomenal, trustworthy, and beyond competent when it comes to securing maternity coverage for mothers and babies who are living around the globe.

VUMI Expat Maternity Insurance

VUMI offers a Global Flex Ultra plan and a Global Flex Total plan. This grants expats the choice to have routine maternity coverage for USD $15,000 or USD $20,000.

Allianz Care Expat Maternity Insurance

Allianz Care lets you choose between their inpatient plans: Care Pro, Care Plus, and Care, and their outpatient plans: Active Family, Active Pro, Active Plus, and Active. Our data in the following chart is for a combined Care Plus and Active Pro plan.

This combination provides pregnant women with USD $6,750 or USD $13,500 in routine maternity care. Allianz also offers plans with coverage for infertility treatment and breastfeeding consultation.

AXA Expat Maternity Insurance

AXA Global offers a Prestige plan and a Prestige Plus plan with routine maternity coverage of USD $16,000 and USD $19,200, respectively. Contact us to learn about all the maternity benefits offered by AXA international health plans.

Cigna Global Expat Maternity Insurance

Cigna Global has stellar Gold and Platinum insurance plans with inpatient routine maternity coverage up to USD $7,000 and USD $14,000, respectively. Cigna also offers coverage for congenital conditions, newborn care, and more.

The following chart compares some of the maternity benefits offered by these top pregnancy insurance providers for international expats. There may be multiple values in each field to display the various plans offered by that insurer.

Best Maternity Insurance Providers for Expats Living Abroad
Coverage VUMI Allianz AXA Cigna
Annual Limit USD 4,500,000 or USD $5,000,000 USD $4,000,000 USD $3,200,000 or USD $8,000,000 USD $2,000,000 or Unlimited
Geographical Area Covered Worldwide (Option to exclude US) Worldwide (Option to exclude US) Worldwide (Option to exclude US) Worldwide (Option to exclude US)
Waiting Period 12 months 10 or 18 months 18 months 24 months
Inpatient Hospitalization Covered Covered Covered Covered
Routine Maternity Care USD $15,000 or USD $20,000 USD $6,750 or USD $13,500 USD $16,000 or USD $19,200 IP: USD $7,000 or USD $14,000 Plus... OP: USD $3,500 or USD $7,000
Pregnancy Complications Up to annual limit Up to annual limit Up to annual limit USD $14,000 or USD $28,000
Childbirth Complications Up to annual limit USD $13,500 or USD $20,250 Up to annual limit Up to complications or pregnancy
Elective C-Section Covered Up to routine maternity care Covered Up to routine maternity care
Emergency / Medically Necessary C-Section Up to annual limit Up to complications of childbirth Up to annual limit Up to complications of pregnancy
Newborn Care USD $125,000 or USD $150,000 Covered Covered USD $75,000 or USD $156,000

This chart is not comprehensive in nature, and each provider offers more maternity benefits than are listed here. To learn more about each of these providers and their various maternity policies, contact Pacific Prime today.

See more of the many top insurance providers for expats here.


Pregnancy and Childbirth Complications Coverage

Not all pregnancy insurance policies will provide coverage for pregnancy and/or childbirth complications. A pregnancy complication is a health problem that arises during pregnancy, and a childbirth complication is a health problem that arises during delivery.

Complications can affect either the mother, the baby, or both.

Because not all maternity insurance plans offer coverage for pregnancy and childbirth complications, it is essential you decide if this is a benefit you want to have for you and your future child in the event that unforeseeable health problems threaten your well-being.

Here are some common pregnancy complications that arise for both pregnant women who have pre-existing conditions and those who are typically considered healthy pre-pregnancy:

  1. Anemia
  2. Anxiety
  3. Depression
  4. Diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational)
  5. Preeclampsia
  6. Heart Conditions (such as Heart Attack and Congenital Heart Defects)
  7. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  8. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
  9. Infections
  10. Overweight and Underweight

Be sure to know exactly which pregnancy and childbirth complications are covered by the plan you select, if any.

Newborn Care International Insurance Coverage

Newborn care can include immediate care at birth, thermal care, resuscitation when needed, support for breast milk feeding, and more. Pregnant women living abroad will want to know what newborn care is considered typical in their local country because it vastly varies around the globe.

The World Health Organization recommends the following treatments as essential newborn care that should be provided worldwide:

  1. Delayed cord clamping
  2. Thorough drying
  3. Assessment of breathing
  4. Skin-to-skin contact
  5. Early initiation of breastfeeding
  6. Thermal care
  7. Resuscitation when needed
  8. Support for breast milk feeding
  9. Nurturing care
  10. Infection prevention
  11. Assessment of health problems
  12. Recognition and response to danger signs
  13. Timely and safe referral when needed

It is also possible that newborn care can include additional services for the country you are in. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Lab work
  2. Health checks
  3. Vaccinations
  4. Doctor Visits
  5. Hospitalization in the NICU

Again, it is essential that as a parent living abroad, you become familiar with what your local country considers newborn care, what your maternity insurance policy covers in newborn care, and for how many days that care is insured.

Cigna, our insurance partner and a health insurance provider for more than 180 million individuals around the world, offers newborn care coverage for up to 90 days after the baby is born.

Congenital Conditions Insurance Coverage

Congenital conditions, or congenital disorders, are structural or functional abnormalities or birth defects that often develop before a child is born. Not all international health insurance plans will include maternity benefits for congenital conditions and their subsequent treatments and/or services.

Expats who plan to become pregnant and give birth abroad should consider if they want medical coverage for congenital conditions in case their future infant is born with a birth defect.

Some pregnancy insurance plans can be customized to add on coverage for congenital conditions if they are not included in the selected plan package.

Here is a list of some congenital conditions:

  1. Cleft Lip and Palate
  2. Clubfoot
  3. Hernia
  4. Heart Defects
  5. Neural Tube Defects
  6. Down Syndrome
  7. Spina Bifida
  8. Cystic Fibrosis

Now Health International, one of our partners and an award-winning international health insurance provider, includes inpatient treatment coverage for congenital disorders that manifest in a newborn within 30 days after birth.

Bupa is one of our insurance partners whose maternity coverage includes pregnancy and childbirth complications.

Childbirth Services Coverage Abroad

Expat women giving birth internationally should be aware of whether the childbirth services covered by their pregnancy insurance include the following, the total amount covered for each, and for how long.

  • Delivery expenses of their child’s birth
  • A cesarean section if needed
  • Home delivery expenses

Most every maternity insurance plan should allot a certain amount of money to the delivery and hospitalization expenses of your child’s birth, but the total amount covered and the number of days you are covered to remain in the hospital may be different per policy and per country.

Also, be aware that not every policy provides coverage for home births.

For that reason, you’ll want to be familiar with your policy’s inclusions before you sign it.

Breastfeeding Services Coverage Abroad

If you are an expat woman who may be interested in breastfeeding, some maternity insurance providers have add-ons to provide coverage for breastfeeding services. This could include breastfeeding counseling with a lactation consultant, a breast pump, and supplies.

One of the top expat health insurance providers that offers breastfeeding services is Allianz Care.

Expat Infertility Treatment Coverage Abroad

The average IVF treatment abroad costs between USD $3,000 - $6,000 per cycle. Expat adults who know they have infertility or who suspect they may have infertility complications may want to take special care to pick an international health insurance plan that covers infertility treatment.

Not all pregnancy insurance benefits will cover infertility, and the expenses for male and female infertility investigation and treatment can quickly add up.

In the United States, one IVF cycle can cost up to USD $8,000, but in the Czech Republic and Latvia, one cycle can cost as low as USD $2,500. You’ll want to know the average prices in your country of residence, if your expat maternity insurance covers IVF treatments, and up to what limit.

Expats may also want to consider if their insurance covers other infertility expenses, such as surrogacy and IVF complications.

Cigna’s Platinum plan covers infertility investigation and treatment.


International Insurance Coverage for Epidurals

If you’re an expat woman living in a country where epidurals are less commonly administered and you know you’d like to have one, you’ll want to make sure you have private health insurance that can grant you access to a private facility that does perform epidurals.

While about 67% of women in the United States get an epidural during labor and delivery, the use of epidurals varies dramatically worldwide. Only 40% of women in Canada get an epidural, 60% of women in the United Kingdom get one, and about 80% of women in France get one.

In Japan and India, on the other hand, epidurals are only rarely administered due to local customs and views about labor and delivery.

Having maternity insurance with benefits that cover epidural expenses may be a must for some pregnant mothers.

Local Birth Practices and Cultural Differences

Expats who plan to deliver a baby abroad must know the local birth practices. Your expat country may have different cultural traditions for who is allowed in the delivery room, whether vaginal deliveries or cesarean sections are preferred, and if a midwife or doctor typically performs the delivery.

Here are a few cultural differences around the globe in terms of birth practices:

We encourage you to learn your local birth practices so you can advocate for the services you want and find a facility that can provide them.

Expat Language Barriers in Pregnancy and Delivery

Expats who don’t speak the local language may face language barriers while delivering a baby abroad. Having a private health insurance plan with maternity coverage can grant you access to private healthcare facilities where there are usually more multilingual health professionals.

Women who expect to get pregnant while living internationally should consider what they will do to work around these language barriers before they select their maternity plan.

Birth Certificate and Home Citizenship

Soon-to-be parents living abroad need to know the local birth certificate and citizenship requirements. You should also decide if you want your child to have dual citizenship or to be a citizen of your home country only. U.S. Citizens who are born abroad need to apply for a CRBA.

The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is an official record that documents your child’s U.S. Citizenship. This application can be done online in most cases. More information can be found at your U.S. Embassy or on the Consulate webpage.

Questions to Ask Your International Provider

Expat women who may get pregnant while living abroad should also ask their insurance providers if their pregnancy benefits have age limits, how claims are made, and if the provider offers direct billing.

  1. Age Limit: Is there an age limit for the mother in your international health policy that could potentially end your maternity coverage benefits?
  2. Claims: What is the process for making a claim for this policy and insurer? Will you have access locally and digitally to all the tools you need to make claims?
  3. Direct Billing: Does this plan allow for direct billing? This means that your insurance provider will pay your healthcare provider directly after you’ve had a visit and received treatment. You won’t be contacted or need to do anything in that process.

If direct billing is not available, it will mean you will have to pay your healthcare provider the full expenses for your care out of pocket and then send in a claim to your insurer, requesting a reimbursement.

This is much more of a hassle and inconvenience for you and likely something you’ll want to avoid.


What is International Health Insurance with Maternity Coverage?

International maternity insurance is pregnancy and postpartum insurance for expats living abroad. Individuals don’t buy an insurance policy that is exclusively for maternity insurance. Instead, you purchase an international health insurance plan with maternity benefits.

There is a wide range of pregnancy coverage benefits, from basic prenatal and postnatal care to comprehensive coverage that includes benefits such as pregnancy complications or congenital conditions.

Let’s discuss below what health insurance plans with pregnancy coverage can look like.

Basic Expat Maternity Benefits in Health Insurance Plans

Among the basic expat maternity benefits in health insurance plans are pre and post-natal treatments and examinations, medically prescribed cesarean sections, normal deliveries, and hospital costs. These benefits are often included as the automatic pregnancy package in health plans.

Here is a list of the basic maternity coverage offered to international expats in most plans:

  • Prenatal and postnatal treatments and examinations
  • Medically prescribed caesarian sections
  • Normal deliveries
  • Deliveries with complications (which complications are covered may vary)
  • Deliveries following fertility treatments
  • Hospital and/or home delivery costs
  • Childbirth and newborn care (up to a certain limit)

Comprehensive Expat Maternity Benefits in Health Plans

Among the comprehensive expat maternity benefits that can be added to health insurance plans are extended care of newborn children, fertility treatments, congenital birth defects, and more. Expat women living internationally can find insurers that let them customize their comprehensive benefits.

Among our fabulous partnering insurers are insurance providers that let you add on the maternity coverage you need. As your insurance broker, it will be our job to negotiate with the providers on your behalf and adjust your plan until you find a policy that satisfies you and fits your budget.

Since pregnancy and newborn complications can be incredibly expensive, it is wise to secure comprehensive coverage for the mother and baby in the event they are hospitalized in the NICU or ICU for an extended period of time.

Here is a list of the comprehensive maternity benefits international expats may choose to add to their health plans:

  • Extended care of newborn children
  • Fertility treatments
  • Congenital birth defects
  • Medical treatment for unexpected newborn complications
  • Breastfeeding services

April International provides an extensive maternity benefits option in their plans that cover neonatal disabilities such as preterm birth that requires an extended NICU stay.


What About Insurance for Women Who Are Already Pregnant?

Women living abroad who are already pregnant before they begin a maternity insurance plan will not be accepted for international health insurance coverage. This is standard across all international health insurance providers.

In this scenario, your pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition (since it existed before a health plan was established). You may find some coverage under a health plan that includes coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Reach out to our health insurance experts to learn more about your insurance options.


Getting Expat Maternity Insurance With a Broker

Insurance brokers help expats find the health insurance they need when living abroad. Brokers are not employed by an insurance company like an insurance agent is, instead, they are part of a third party that is loyal first and foremost to their expat clients.

Because a broker’s main priority is helping their clients find the best plans for their individual needs and budget, brokers help expats shop around between insurance companies and insurance policies. A broker’s advice is centered around helping their clients rather than directing them to any specific insurer.

Another service we can offer you is securing a top-up plan with maternity coverage. That means we can help you get an additional plan that covers maternity benefits if your current health plan excludes maternity or other services.

Pacific Prime is an award-winning global insurance broker, and we have helped over one million expats secure health insurance around the world. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can serve you in your insurance endeavors!

Read here to learn more about what an insurance broker does and how you can pick one.

The best part is that you won’t pay us a penny! We receive commissions from insurance providers, so you benefit from our services and learn about the many insurance options available to you without any cost.

Compare Expat Pregnancy Insurance Policies and Quotes

As you search for the best maternity insurance plan for your needs, use our insurance quote comparison tool. It is a unique resource that allows global expats to compare a number of insurance providers and their plans side by side with estimated quotes.

You can save your favorite quotes and plans on this tool for later reference, and our experts can answer any questions you have about the plans available in your country.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Affordable Care Act apply to expat maternity insurance?

The Affordable Care Act in the US that requires maternity coverage to be included in the essential health benefits package does not apply to international health insurance. This means that even though you can get coverage in the US if you’re already pregnant, it’s not required if you live abroad.

Can I choose my own OB-GYN when living abroad?

Most international pregnancy plans do allow the patient to pick their own obstetrician or midwife. Some plans may require you to choose a physician who is considered in-network with the insurance provider, and some plans will be even more flexible.

Is maternity coverage required for health plans outside of the USA?

Maternity insurance is not required as a benefit in all health insurance plans offered to expats or digital nomads living outside of the USA. It is essential for women who plan to or suspect they may become pregnant while living internationally to make sure their plan has pregnancy coverage.

Does expat pregnancy insurance cover infertility?

Pregnancy insurance for expats may cover infertility testing and treatment in a comprehensive plan. You can find insurance providers who offer maternity add-ons for such benefits as infertility, breastfeeding, congenital conditions, and more.

Is pregnancy insurance guaranteed for expat dependents?

In some countries, employers may provide health insurance (including maternity) for dependents. In some countries, however, employers do not cover dependents. This is the case in the UAE, so if a dependent becomes pregnant, you will be expected to purchase your own coverage.

What is the average waiting period for pregnancy insurance abroad?

The average waiting period for pregnancy insurance for expats and digital nomads living abroad is 10-12 months. Waiting periods, also called moratoriums, can be as long as 24 months. Expats planning to get pregnant while living internationally should secure maternity insurance well in advance.

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