Twenty five percent of pregnancies will encounter one or more complications. These complications may require you to stop working and take bed rest to protect your health and the viability of your baby. If you work in New York State you have state short term disability to replace a portion of your income. This coverage should set your mind at ease; but for most women it provides a false sense of financial security.
New York has the nation's highest cost of living and the highest average income to help pay those bills. One would expect the state mandated short term disability insurance plan to provide a correspondingly high level of income replacement. But this is not the case. The New York plan replaces 50% of income, up to $170 per week.
This represents 17% income replacement for a woman earning $52,000 per year - not an extravagant income by any measure. Short term disability insurance typically replaces 60% to 70% of income.
While only one of five states with mandated short term disability coverage this weekly cap provides a false sense of security. Women may know that there is a state plan in place, only to find out that the coverage is woefully lacking when they need it most.
Consider the email message recently received in our office from a woman in New York: "I am 12 weeks pregnant and I'm on bed rest because I have a subchorionic hematoma." This poor woman is facing nearly six months of bed rest, followed by a maternity leave to recover from birth and care for her newborn. A subchorionic hematoma is a type of blood clot found between the pregnancy membranes and the wall of the uterus. This occurs in just over 1% of pregnancies.
Consider that she may be facing seven months or more with just $170 per week. Many couples with growing families are living check to check before getting pregnant. If she needed to use infertility treatments to get pregnant, she may have borrowed money to cover some of the costs. She already has enough things on her mind, and the added stress of worrying about how to pay bills can't be good for her health.
Working women in NY need the state's short term disability coverage more than any other group. They are planning a disability for normal labor and delivery - her maternity leave. But as you see, many pregnancies encounter complications, which can mean many months of missed work.
Women in New York should consider purchasing a supplemental short term disability insurance policy before getting pregnant. They can get 70% income replacement during maternity leave, and during any time missed due to pregnancy complications - rather than relying on the $170 from New York State.