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03 June 2022

What do you need to know about Maternity Insurance?

Pregnant woman

Even with its simplest forms of coverage, Insurance can be hard to understand; and Health Insurance is often anything but simple. While many people have good health insurance protection, not many policyholders fully understand the ins-and-outs of their coverage.

This is especially true concerning health insurance plans offering a Maternity coverage benefit.

Maternity is a common concern for people thinking about long-term protection under a health insurance policy, and becomes even more pressing for couples who may want to start a family in the future. Obtaining coverage under a health insurance plan for a benefit like Maternity or Pregnancy protection is much more complicated than with a benefit like inpatient coverage, and the consequences of making a bad choice for your maternity insurance can be far reaching.

What is Maternity Insurance?

Maternity Insurance, or Pregnancy Insurance, is the name given to an optional benefit available under many Hong Kong and International Health Insurance policies.

This type of insurance protection is designed to cover the costs associated with delivering a baby (giving birth) at the hospital of your choice within the plan’s geographical coverage area. Pre-natal (before the birth) and post-Natal (after the birth) medical checkups and treatments are also usually covered under this type of benefit.

Coverage provided by many Maternity insurance plans in Hong Kong includes:

  • Costs associated with a routine vaginal delivery
  • Costs associated with a medically necessary C-Section
  • Costs associated with either Home or Hospital Delivery
  • Freedom of choice for OBGYN and treatment providers
  • Costs associated with a delivery following complications

In some cases, Maternity insurance policies in Hong Kong will even be able to provide limited coverage for IVF/Fertility treatments, continuing coverage for any Congenital Birth Defects an infant may be born with, and the possibility of lifetime insurance protection for your baby.

How do you buy Maternity Insurance

In order to obtain maternity coverage, you will normally need to purchase inpatient protection. This is due to the fact that Maternity is considered an optional health insurance benefit.

Depending on the insurance company you are choosing to purchase maternity protection from, or even the type of policy you are purchasing, there may be some additional considerations needed to obtain the maternity protection you want. In fact, some insurers may require both mother and father to hold the same level of coverage under the plan in order to receive the policy’s full maternity protection.

The premium you can expect to pay for your maternity insurance protection will be based on the age of the policyholder(s), the plan’s area of coverage, and the level of protection being afforded to you under the policy. Simply put, older families with higher levels of coverage, a wider coverage area (worldwide as opposed to worldwide excluding the USA, for example) can expect to pay more for their insurance.

Major Maternity Insurance Considerations

There are two major areas for considerations when it comes to Maternity insurance, and both of these concerns will limit your ability to make the most of your insurance coverage.

Maternity Insurance and Waiting Periods

The most important aspect of maternity insurance that it is critical for any policyholder to understand is the fact that this benefit is always attached to a waiting period. In many cases, and under many types of maternity insurance, you will have needed to be on the policy for a significant length of time before receiving coverage for your maternity benefit.

In fact, the shortest available waiting period under any international health insurance product is 10 months from the start of the plan. This means that to even have your pregnancy considered for coverage under any maternity insurance policy you would have needed to have been enrolled on the plan for at least 10 months.

As a normal pregnancy is 9 months in duration it then becomes immediately apparent that any person who is already pregnant will not be able to enroll on a new maternity insurance policy and have the existing pregnancy covered under that plan. In this regard, pregnancy is almost treated like a pre-existing condition – taking out a maternity insurance policy when you are already pregnant will not see you covered against the costs of that delivery.

When it comes to maternity insurance it is critical that you plan ahead and consider the impact of a waiting period on your plans to have children. While the shortest international maternity insurance waiting period is 10 months from the start of the policy, it is more common to see waiting periods between 12 to 24 months from the start of the plan. This is further complicated by the fact that some waiting periods are defined on an “until conception” basis.

A policy whose waiting period is defined “until conception” will not cover any pregnancies where the child was conceived before the completion of the waiting period in question. Conceiving too soon, in this situation, would see the costs of that pregnancy excluded from the coverage being provided.

Newborn Child Insurance Coverage

The second area which many Maternity Insurance buyers should consider in the availability of Newborn Child Coverage under maternity health insurance options. Having your child covered under insurance can be invaluable in the early days of their life, especially if there are any congenital conditions that you may be concerned about. Hong Kong and International Maternity Insurance options will normally go about insurance infants in one of two ways; the child may either receive a free benefit or they may be born into the plan.

As may be obvious by the name, a free benefit for newborn child coverage will not cost the policyholder any additional money – the baby will be provided free insurance protection for a certain time or financial limit. Once the time limit has expired (normally 30 days after birth) or the coverage limit has been reached, then an application must be made for continuing coverage of the child. If the child has been born healthy with no medical concerns, then there will normally be no issues here.

However, in the event that the baby was born with medical issues and continuing healthcare protection was required, once the free benefit has expired an application must be made to the insurer to obtain further health insurance coverage. This application will be subject to underwriting, and may come with exclusions which prevent the child from having full medical insurance protection.

The contrast to this is having a baby born into a plan whereby the policyholder pays a pro-rated premium to have their infant added to the existing maternity insurance policy from the moment of the child’s birth. While this does come with a cost, it ensures that there are no additional underwriting concerns and (in the event the policy is guaranteed renewable) the child will have continuing health insurance coverage for life.

Free Maternity Insurance Comparisons

If you would like to receive a free comparison of any Hong Kong or International Maternity Insurance options that could suit your needs, simply complete the short form at the top of this page. One of our expert Insurance Brokers will contact you directly to discuss your needs.

Alternatively, you can Contact Us to obtain more information about the maternity insurance options we offer in Hong Kong, to learn more about CCW Global, or to arrange a no-risk, no-obligation consultation with an expert broker today.

About Author

Michael Lamb is an insurance industry professional with many years of experience within the Hong Kong Insurance market. Focusing on APAC coverage issues, Michael is able to provide extensive analysis and insight to a range of pressing topics. Previously, Michael provided insurance broker Globalsurance.com with their most highly valued articles and was a key influence in the development of all the content on Pacificprime.com, Michael has a passion for insurance matched by few others in the region.

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