Improvements in Insurance Funding for Mamas on Bedrest

June 8th, 2010

I am pleased to report that the mama I was helping to get emergency funds while on bed rest was offered a grant from Better Bed rest. While talking to her yesterday she told me how kind the volunteers are from Better Bed rest and how they helped her in her time of need. While I am thrilled that she is going to be okay-physically and financially-it still pains me to think that she is just one of many mamas on bed rest who will face financial crisis as a result of a high risk pregnancy.

Hopefully there is some relief in sight. In today’s Washington Post, columnist Michelle Andrews highlights some of the benefits that the new Health Care Reform Law will bring to pregnant women. While many won’t kick in until 2014, some will take effect this year and next. They include:

  • Coverage of preventive screenings and services for pregnant women at no extra charge. Yes, many women were charged additional fees to their insurance premiums for certain prenatal screening tests and treatments like folic acid supplements and smoking cessation programs, both known to improve the health of mother and baby.
  • The new law will require that employers offer paid time off/breaks so that mothers can go express breastmilk and the law requires that a designated place be made available-other than the bathroom. It’s about time!
  • Funds will be allotted for research on post partum depression. Again, it’s about time!
  • A pregnancy assistance fund, which will provide $25 million annually for 10 years for housing, child care and other needs. (Here is emergency funding for mamas on bed rest!!!)
  • $1.5 billion over five years will be dedicated to expanding home-visiting programs in which nurses and other providers visit pregnant teenagers and young mothers. While I can appreciate helping young mothers, I think that the program should be expanded to include ALL new mothers of ALL ages. As any mom knows, having a new baby is overwhelming. If there isn’t sufficient support the stress can contribute to post partum depression. (See April 30th Blog post, Austinwoman Magazine Article on Post Partum Depression)

Starting in 2014, Medicare will begin covering low income adults. This is important because while some 40% of women receive Medicare while they are pregnant, they are often not covered prior to becoming pregnant and lose coverage shortly after they deliver (often within 60 days). The hope is that these women will be healthier going into their pregnancies because they will have routine health maintenance and that they and their children will stay healthier post partum because she will have continued healthcare.

Finally, as of 2014 insurance companies will no longer be able to deny pregnancy preventive care as a “pre-existing condition” or to charge women higher premium costs when they are pregnant.

While these are great advances in maternity care, we still have a long way to go. There still needs to be more research into the causes of high risk pregnancy as well as provisions made (such as short term disability benefits, home care services) to help high risk pregnant women and their families.

As with anything, change is only going to come if we demand it. Let your voice be heard! What are the important issues affecting mamas on bedrest? Share your comments in the comments section below.

On bed and having some low back, hip and leg pain? Sign up for our Mamas on Bedrest e-mail list and get a free download of lower body exercises modified specifically for mamas on bed rest. Sign up now!

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