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Pregnant, Single And Uninsured

Contributor
Self

Relax and enjoy your pregnancy, because you have health care options galore

There it is. Two fuchsia lines, side by side. Like the test says, you are officially pregnant. Part of you wants to do the "happy dance," but the other part is afraid. Your baby's father is no longer in the picture and, to make matters worse, you are uninsured.



Don't let your situation dampen your spirits. Thanks to a number of government programs and other health care options, you and your soon-to-be bundle of joy will receive the care you both require.


Medicaid



This joint state and federal program provides health care for the nation's most vulnerable people under the age of 65. Have you tried to receive Medicaid in the past, but were deemed ineligible? There may be good news. Some states have changed their income level cut-offs, which could mean that you now qualify. Plus, some states also boast special programs for expectant mothers. Furthermore, you can apply for Medicaid any time--not just during the Marketplace Open Enrollment.



The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation's "Where are the States Today? Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility Levels for Children and Non-Disabled Adults" provides an in-depth look at each state's current offerings.


CHIP



The Children's Health Insurance Program refers to state-operated programs that provide expectant moms and their children with discounted or free health care. Designed to assist people who don't qualify for Medicaid, but do not make enough money to afford private coverage either, these plans typically cover services like doctor visits, vaccinations, prescription drugs, emergency room care, and more. Again, each state operates its own CHIP program, so you will need to check with your own state to see if you qualify and learn more about what they cover.



For further information and to check on your eligibility, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' "The Children's Health Insurance Program" page offers a plethora of helpful information and links.


WIC



WIC, an acronym for "Women, Infants, and Children," is a federal program created to protect the health of low-income women and their children up to age five. Some of the benefits include classes on nutrition topics and pregnancy, referrals for health care services, and the provision of healthy food and supplements.



The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service offers a comprehensive look at this program on their WIC site.


Maternity Rider Coverage



Do you have access to a health insurance plan that does not include coverage for pregnancy-related care? According to "Health Insurance and Pregnancy," you may be able to add a maternity rider to your existing policy--ensuring that both your childbirth and neonatal care will be covered.



Your Parents' Plan



If you are under the age of 26, your parents should be able to insure you under their health insurance plan. Some plans, however, will not cover pregnancy expenses for dependents, so this is something you will have to look into. You may get lucky, however, and discover that your maternity care will be covered.


Safety Net Hospitals



There are approximately 185 hospitals that provide free medical care to people who qualify for safety-net hospital care. These facilities can be found in forty states and offer health care to individuals with low incomes, no insurance, or certain health conditions.



To see if you qualify or if there is a safety-net hospital near you, visit the US Department of Health and Human Services' "Hill-Burton Free and Reduced-Cost Health Care" page.



Yes, you can relax and enjoy your pregnancy. You have health care options galore. So flash that smile, do the "happy dance," and show off that pregnancy glow.



What other helpful tips can you offer an uninsured expectant mom?

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