Motherhood is one of the most cherished stages in a woman’s life. However, it also comes with emotional and financial responsibility. Before making this life-changing decision, it’s crucial to prepare financially for the responsibilities that come with motherhood. Moreover, it is equally important to have a plan in place to counter any unforeseen demands that one may encounter during or after pregnancy.
A good financial plan for mothers must also take into account their changing needs as they go through the different stages of motherhood, from pregnancy to old age. Here is how the health insurance needs of mothers evolve at different stages of their lives:
Expectant mothers: The moment one decides to have a child, the journey to motherhood begins from there, as does financial planning. To ensure a peaceful pregnancy, the future mother needs medical care from the start. This is where a health insurance policy with maternity benefit comes into play. Such an insurance policy covers all expenses related to childbirth up to a certain period – involving both before and after pregnancy. In fact, there are now plans that even cover IVF costs for those trying to conceive.
However, it is relevant to understand that there is usually a waiting period of two to four years, depending on the policy, before you can qualify for maternity benefits. However, there are now policies available that have reduced this waiting period to one year. Therefore, it is important to get a health insurance plan with maternity benefits early in life, as an existing pregnancy will not be covered by maternity benefits.
Aside from pre- and post-pregnancy care, one of the major financial costs associated with pregnancy is the cost of childbirth and delivery, which can run into a few thousand dollars, especially in surgical deliveries. Purchasing an insurance policy that covers this expense ensures that you can benefit from the best facilities available in your city. This would not only ensure quality care for the new mother, but also for her child. Since the financial responsibility is covered – or at least reduced – by insurance, the mother can concentrate on achieving the major milestone in her life and focus on other important things.
New moms: During pregnancy, the focus is on the health of the mother and, by extension, the unborn child. However, as soon as the child is born, then the world revolves around the baby. The newborn has weak immunity at this stage and is susceptible to infection and disease. He must also be vaccinated at regular intervals, which is also a significant expense. However, as the young mother and her family deal with all of this, it is important to remember that the mother also needs time to fully recover from the effects of childbirth.
Many health insurance policies with maternity coverage also offer coverage for the newborn, which can come in handy at times like these. However, this coverage only lasts up to a certain period. Thus, a health insurance plan that offers the possibility of adding the child to the basic plan is ideal for mothers at this stage. Additionally, almost all major insurance companies offer health insurance plans that cover childhood vaccinations. The young mother can also opt for the additional newborn care formula with her health insurance policy if the terms and conditions of the policy allow it.
However, health care at this stage is not just limited to the baby. The mother must also be covered against postnatal care. Also, over time, her insurance needs would evolve beyond maternity and should cover her overall health. Most health insurance plans serve this purpose. However, she should also consider protection against diseases specific to women, such as breast cancer, cancer of the reproductive system, etc.
Single mothers: Although not all health insurance policies cover single women in their maternity plans, there are some plans available in the market that provide maternity benefits to single women and single mothers. However, the most important factor here is the waiting period. Once the woman has completed the waiting period specified in the terms and conditions of the scheme, she is eligible for maternity benefits under the scheme, regardless of her marital status. These plans are ideal for single women as they can be purchased, along with maternity benefits, even before they are married.
Elderly mothers: As time passes and the child grows into an adult, the mother also ages and her health care and insurance needs change further. The child, upon becoming an adult, would leave the floating family plan and continue to purchase their own. The mother’s medical care needs would now be more specific to her age rather than maternity benefits. She would need a plan that covers critical illnesses. Women are also prone to conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis at a higher rate than men as they age. It’s wise to consider additional critical illness coverage at this point, if it hasn’t already been added to the policy earlier.
If at this point the elderly mother is looking for new health coverage because of her changed circumstances, she will need to look for a plan that covers pre-existing conditions from day one. There are such plans now available in the market. There are also senior-specific plans that cover medical expenses incurred by people over 60. Since she would need regular medical checkups, these plans are helpful as they cover these expenses. The best part about these plans is that they offer lifetime renewal.
With rapidly rising healthcare costs, having coverage for both planned and unplanned hospitalizations is crucial. Especially for mothers who have to care for their dependents, having sufficient coverage at different stages of life is crucial. And just as their medical needs change over the course of maternity, so does their insurance coverage. By using different riders, mothers can customize their health insurance plans based on the life stage they are at.
(By Amit Chhabra, Head-Health & Travel Insurance, Policybazaar.com)