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Maternity insurance for expats: What you should know

Maternity insurance for expats: What you should know

If you have any questions or want to invest or get insured as an expat or high-net-worth individual, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use these contact options.

Introduction

Pregnancy is a staggeringly delicate phase of your life, and even in the best of circumstances, the utmost care and attention must be given to the well-being of the expecting mother and the child in her womb. This level of care is often very expensive.

When you’re pregnant, or thinking about becoming a parent, it’s important to know how much maternity insurance will cost—doubly so if you’re an expat. Maternity insurance for expats is an important factor to consider before moving abroad.

If you haven’t lived in your new home for long enough to qualify for health insurance through your employer or any other company, then it can be confusing trying to figure out what type of cover is best for you and baby.

This article will try to outline the most important things to remember when choosing maternity insurance for expats.

Maternity insurance for expats can help with the costs of giving birth abroad
Maternity insurance for expats can help with the costs of giving birth abroad. | Photo: Pexels

Why should I get maternity insurance for expats?

According to Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker, giving birth costs an average of $18,865 in the United States in 2022. This cost includes pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care.

With insurance, that cost is $2,854. If you have a planned or unplanned C-section, this could rise by 50% or more. And if there are any issues, the price for either could rise significantly. The average out-of-pocket cost for a vaginal birth is $2,655, while the cost of a cesarean birth is $3,214.

The researchers compared women between the ages of 15 and 49 who gave birth to those who did not by analyzing a dataset of health insurance claims data from 2018 to 2020. Transgender and nonbinary people who might have given birth are not taken into account in the data.

Only those with private health insurance through substantial employer-sponsored policies were examined in the study.

About half of all newborns are covered by commercial insurance; the majority are covered by the government’s Medicaid program, which provides coverage for those with low incomes and has lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Meanwhile, large employer-sponsored plans are often the most generous private plans. People with additional private insurance, such as minor employer-sponsored insurance or a plan bought on the individual market, most likely had higher out-of-pocket costs for childbirth.

Another thing to note is that because the mother is the main patient, the costs related to pregnancy and childbirth are typically limited at the individual level, not the family level when it comes to health insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket minimums.

Of course, not all healthcare systems are as expensive as that in the US, but the point stands that pregnancy is often very expensive for those who do not plan ahead.

One of the best methods to reduce the costs associated with pregnancy, from your prenatal care and the hospital stay after you give birth, therefore, is to purchase pregnancy or maternity insurance.

Maternity insurance for expats should be one of the things you should consider when you expect to start a new life and a family abroad.

There are many types of maternity health insurance available, with varying levels of cover and different levels of cost. Maternity insurance for expats often has waiting periods before they kick in, so make sure that this is something you want before signing up.

Depending on the details of your plan, out-of-pocket expenses for labor and delivery may include a health insurance deductible, copayments, and coinsurance. If you have already paid your annual deductible, your out-of-pocket expenses will be lower.

Another way to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses is to give birth at a hospital or other facility that is part of your insurance network. You can end up paying more for care or all of the out-of-network care costs if you seek treatment from a provider outside the network of your health plan.

Be sure to consult with a trusted financial planner or expert to help you make the right decisions for your needs.

What should I know before getting maternity insurance?

When looking for maternity insurance for expats, make sure that your policy covers all the things that you need it to – particularly if moving abroad or working abroad could change the way your pregnancy goes.

For example, due to different weather conditions, food choices, or cultures around expecting mothers can affect a baby’s development in many ways. Should you or the baby have any unfortunate reaction to your changed environments, it is better to be protected with a policy that covers it.

Fortunately, a lot of insurance companies already incorporate maternity health coverage within the “core” of their premium market plans.

In such plans, the newborn can subsequently be included as a dependent on the health insurance policy—provided you buy your policy in advance.

Many international insurance companies know maternity insurance will get claimed soon, and so they often enforcing a moratorium on maternity insurance for expats, often lasting for a period anywhere between 12 to 24 months, only after which claims can become legitimate. They do this to limit their liability.

Therefore, it is vitally important to get maternity insurance before you get pregnant.

Maternity insurance is a good way to prepare for unexpected costs. It’s important to get maternity insurance before you get pregnant, especially if you and your partner plans on staying in the country after the baby arrives.

You should speak with your insurance provider as soon as possible to learn about their maternity benefits, the waiting period they impose, and how to best plan your pregnancy.

If you become pregnant before the waiting time has passed, you will be responsible for shouldering the delivery costs.

Do note however the local healthcare policies in place wherever you might be staying. It is possible that social health programs or local insurance companies can give maternity healthcare coverage even if you are already pregnant. This is not guaranteed, however.

Finally, and perhaps obviously, make sure that you already have life insurance to cover the very worst scenarios of childbirth. It is extremely unlikely that mothers face any life-threatening complications when giving birth in any adequate healthcare facility, yet it is still a possibility.

Should I still get maternity insurance for expats even if I’ll only be out of the country for the short term?

Even if you’re in a short-term contract abroad, worldwide maternity insurance for expats is important.

You may think that you’re only planning to be away from home for a few months and so don’t plan on having children. But accidents can happen!

The cost of maternity insurance for expats is far below that of raising a child abroad.

Even if you are confident that you will not be getting pregnant during your stay abroad, it may still be worth looking into double checking your health coverage through your employer or other health insurance plans you may have if they have maternity health coverage.

If there are no plans available, many women find that they can still get coverage for emergency expenses such as hospital visits and prescription costs by purchasing supplementary policies from individual companies or international health insurance associations.

How should I choose my maternity insurance policy?

As with any insurance policy, finding maternity insurance for expats needs you to do a bit of research. You can save money by choosing the right plan that covers only what you need, but such plans are almost always priced at the country you will be residing in.

You might find it difficult to find international health insurance providers that provide maternity-only coverage.

Similar to dental treatment, childbirth costs are covered by health insurance as an added benefit or option that you can choose to take advantage of when you enroll in a health insurance plan.

It should be possible to find a plan or provider that can offer you the coverage that you need and only what you need. However, it might not be the best option for you.

These plans typically offer barebones medical coverage at relatively low monthly premiums while providing no prescription drug benefits or extended hospital stays beyond 24 weeks after birth.

They also require applicants to pay out-of-pocket for any additional expenses beyond their deductible amount. If something goes wrong during pregnancy or delivery (or even later), this could cause significant financial hardship for families without adequate savings set aside beforehand.

If you simply need maternity insurance for expats for the short-term, you might want to try choosing a policy that limits its insured countries or regions so as not to cost more than necessary.

Good maternity coverage offers a number of advantages, including prenatal checkups, baby monitoring, delivery, postpartum hospital care, and pediatric care.

Generally speaking, the majority of insurance companies also pay for newborn care and difficulties during pregnancy, though you might need to clarify what your provider exactly constitutes as complications and how long they can cover for your newborn.

Within a predetermined period following birth, you also usually can add your child to your insurance as a dependent.

When choosing maternity insurance for expats, keep in mind that a good plan will cover complications like C-sections, childcare and early labor.

Look for a plan that covers your most common pregnancy complications. Some of these include bed rest and early labor, C-sections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, stress incontinence after childbirth and varicose veins or hemorrhoids.

You should also look for coverage for any medical conditions that may arise during your pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension—and if there’s an unexpected complication like preterm labor or preeclampsia—you’ll want to make sure your insurer will cover those costs too!

Also keep in mind the mental health costs of pregnancy. Some insurers also offer coverage for the treatment of postpartum depression, but not all do.

Maternity insurance for expats can be tricky, because there are so many different types of policies out there in many different countries. Some companies offer maternity packages with no deductible and others require a large deductible before they’ll pay anything on claims.

The best way to avoid getting scammed by an overpriced plan is by comparing quotes from multiple companies before choosing one that fits your needs best.

Keep in mind that you don’t always have to pay more for good maternity coverage.

You can get great coverage at a reasonable price if you shop around. There are services you can use like Policygenius to compare quotes and insurance plans easily and conveniently online.

The best way to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected costs during your pregnancy is to make sure your maternity insurance will cover those costs.

Pregnancy is never cheap, but you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for maternity insurance.

Maternity insurance for expats is an excellent way to ensure that you’ll be able to afford the cost of having your baby abroad, especially if it’s not covered by your employer.

Pregnancy care and deliveries are automatically covered by health insurance. Your health plan and your out-of-pocket expenses will both have an impact on the coverage amount.

It pays to plan ahead, especially if you want to start a family abroad
It pays to plan ahead, especially if you want to start a family abroad. | Photo: Pexels

When you have maternity insurance for expats, the hospital will work with your international insurance provider to submit claims after each appointment and after childbirth. The amount of the cost that your insurance will cover will be determined, and the remaining balance will be charged to you.

You most likely won’t be involved in the claim process if you obtain care from an in-network provider. However, if you visit a hospital that is not in your insurance’s network, you could be required to submit the claims by yourself.

Good maternity health policies cover more than just prenatal care and delivery; most policies provide coverage for postpartum care as well.

There are many reasons to get maternity insurance, but the biggest is that you’ll be able to take care of yourself and your baby when things go wrong.

For example, if you have an emergency c-section or hemorrhage while pregnant, your maternity insurance will help pay for those expenses. But it also covers things like routine checkups and prenatal care that may not be covered by other types of coverage.

If you plan ahead, you can mitigate any of the unnecessary costs of childbirth and make sure that you can start your family abroad without worry.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.

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