If you are an entrepreneur, your insurance situation may start out precarious, and then you get pregnant. The best situation is to have a working spouse with good company provided health care, but we aren’t all so lucky. What about women who are really out there in entrepreneur-land without a net?
Well, you’re a smart woman, so you picked up health insurance. Great. But, what if you were one of the unlucky ones who bought a health insurance policy that didn’t cover maternity and pregnancy care????? Uh, oh. Yes, it can happen. Similarly, your policy may consider a pregnancy put into place within the first (X) number of months to be a pre-existing condition. Bizarre.
In Pennsylvania, there is a state-run program called (Health Beginnings/Healthy Beginnings Plus) If you are pregnant, you may be eligible for Healthy Beginnings – a Medical Assistance program that provides comprehensive health care coverage to pregnant women during pregnancy and for their babies for a full year. The program is completely free. Call 1-800-842-2020 for more information on how to apply and where you may receive care at a location near you. You can also access Web information at www.dpw.state.pa.us, “Services for Low-Income Pennsylvanians.” If you meet the income requirements to be eligible for medical assistance, you may be eligible for this program.
You may also negotiate with a private provider for reduced rates in exchange for cash or advanced payments. You may also check into alternate care providers. The Bryn Mawr Birth Center is a women’s health facility located across the street from Bryn Mawr Hospital (their backup facility), and they offer “scholarship” type plans on a limited basis. It is worth making some phone calls to your preferred provider to find out what arrangements can be made to handle your care.
We can only hope that the health care changes passed in recent years address these problems so that all new moms have access to adequate care. Especially if they are working their butts off as risk-taking entrepreneurs.
If you are not yet pregnant, take the time to read your health insurance policy and sit down with your insurance provider. There may be time to correct your insurance situation and ensure those premiums you’ve been paying will actually cover a pregnancy in the future, either by adding coverage, waiting out a specified time period, or switching providers.