New legislation that takes effect at the start of 2016 will allow expectant mothers in New York to enroll in the state's health-insurance exchange at any time during their pregnancy. New York is the first state in the nation to that makes pregnancy a “qualifying Life Event” to enroll in coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Assembly member Aravella Simotas co-sponsored the bill that created the exception. She says access to pre-natal care is crucial for a baby's development.
"It was mind boggling to me that New York State and states throughout the nation would allow a woman giving birth to get insurance but they wouldn't cover her while she was pregnant. Why should a child be born into this world prematurely if it can be avoided?"
She says women can choose to continue receiving health-care coverage through their plan after they give birth as long as they continue to pay for their health insurance. There was push back from insurance companies. Simotas says there are fears that expanding the list of health conditions that allow people to enroll outside of the designated period could cut into profits. But in this case, she says, it’s a good fiscal move.
"The research is clear that a child that is born healthy costs insurance companies a lot less than a child that's born prematurely and a mother who may have issues with her pregnancy that could have been avoided."
Under the law, insurance coverage for a pregnant woman would be effective beginning the first day of the month in which the woman is certified as pregnant.