I guess you already know that it is a lot easier to find health insurance well before you get pregnant. A typical job related group policy should cover maternity very well. If you can obtain group medical coverage from an employer, HIPAA laws may protect your access to the plan even if you are pregnant. If you already have a job, and did not take the insurance, call your HR department to find out what your options are. If you need to find a new job with group benefits, this situation will get a lot more sticky. While employers should not discriminate, trying to get hired while pregnant is not an ideal situation. Of course, a spouse with an employer based group medical plan that covers maternity would work too.
Keep in mind that not everybody qualifies for this HIPAA protection. For one thing, you usually have to be able to prove you had prior coverage within a certain time limit. The laws were intended to protect people, but not to allow people to just run out and get insurance when they needed it. This is not how insurance works. You do not buy car insurance after you have an accident.
If a group policy is out of the question, individual insurers will not be likely to insure pregnant women. In fact, in many cases, they will not even insure anybody in the household where a woman is pregnant.
If you have bee recently terminated, pregnancy is one good reason to keep your COBRA benefits as long as you can. If your old employer had maternity coverage in their group plan, and you can extend those benefits for several months, this may be your best option. COBRA benefits are not cheap though, so this is not always affordable for every unemployed person.
Public Health Insurance Options
If your family meets the income guidelines, consider applying for Medicaid or CHIPS. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for very poor people with few assets. CHIPS is the federal and state children's health insurance program for low to moderate income families. This children's insurance program has been extended to also include pregnant women. You can search the internet for local contact information.
Your county hospital system may also provide low cost clinics and deliveries on a sliding scale based upon income. There are also private foundations and charities that provide financial aid. The PPARX.org website is a good resource to find local financial aid and resources.
What If Your Income is Too High For Public Insurance?
Your family could make too much money to qualify for any public programs, but you could still have trouble paying for everything out of your pocket. A normal maternity could cost a few thousand dollars. Any complications, like a C section, could run up much higher bills.
In this case, you can search for payment programs. I have seen hospital and doctor's programs which allow you to make payments for routine care and deliveries. You would simply pay out the cost of office visits, tests, and your delivery in the same way you make car payments.
Maternity Health Care Is Important
The important thing now is to focus on the health of the mother and child. Some people may feel to proud to apply for public health programs, but I think these feelings should be put aside for now. In the long run, if you get proper care so you can have a good chance to have a healthy mother deliver a healthy child, you will be doing the most good for society.