Best Way to Understand Health Insurance Coverage for Different Kinds of Birth Choices

Maybe you already have some ideas of your birth choices, you’ll need to make sure your insurance will cover your preferences for prenatal care, type of provider, and place of delivery. If your current insurance doesn’t allow for your choice and you’re still committed to a certain kind of birth, you will either have to try to find another insurance plan that provides the coverage you want before you get pregnant or budget to cover the cost yourself. Some health plans have very strict preexisting conditions clauses, and pregnancy may be considered a preexisting condition, meaning the coverage will be limited or that your pregnancy will not be covered.

Knowing what you can expect from your plan will help you with crit­ical decision making. You and your partner should get answers to the following questions about your insurance before becoming pregnant.

Birth Choices Best Way to Understand Health Insurance Coverage for Different Kinds of Birth Choices

Insurance Question Checklist

  •  Do you have health insurance that covers pregnancy, prenatal care, and delivery?
  •  Is it group insurance through your employer or your partner’s employer?
  •  Do you cover each other on your health insurance?
  •  Are you covered as “a significant other” or “domestic partner”? (You should be aware that many insurance companies do not allow coverage for these situations.)
  •  If you don’t have group insurance, can you get a single policy?
  •  Is pregnancy a preexisting condition and thus not covered by your insurance if you are pregnant before you get coverage?
  •  Is it comprehensive, meaning does it cover everything? If not what isn’t covered?
  •  Does it have a deductible? What will be your financial contribution?
  •  Does it have a dollar limit of coverage per year?
  • Does it allow you the choice to deliver in a hospital, birthing center, or home birth?
  • Does it allow you to choose your OB/GYN?
  •  Does it cover infertility diagnosis and treatment?
  •  Does it cover the cost of a birth and/or postpartum doula?


We strongly recommend you get health insurance before becoming pregnant if you can afford it. If you’re unable to afford any type of insurance, find out if you’re eligible for Medicaid, which is govern­ment-funded health care. You can contact your local health depart­ment listed in the phone book. Many women do not realize that Med­icaid is available even to some women who work.

Birth Choices 1 Best Way to Understand Health Insurance Coverage for Different Kinds of Birth Choices

Disability Insurance

You may want to check if your employer offers disability insurance before getting pregnant. If not, you may want to buy a separate plan. Disability insurance can help you financially if you have a complica­tion and are unable to work during your pregnancy or if you have a major medical complication after delivery and cannot return to work. If problems arise in your pregnancy, your doctor may prescribe long-term bed rest, meaning you will not be able to work. Disability insur­ance will protect you from a complete loss of income. Talk with your benefit administrator at work or call the health plan directly.

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