As of July 1, 2012, California requires that all health insurance plans, including in the individual and small group markets, include maternity service as a covered benefit. This key consumer protection will help new mothers get the maternity coverage they need, which will provide a healthier start to their children, financial security for their families, savings for taxpayers, equity for women, and benefits for society into the future.
THE NEED FOR NEW RULES ON MATERNITY
While maternity care is obviously vital to life, in the past few years, insurers have relegated maternity coverage to a rarely-offered benefit. While large group health insurance plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) include maternity coverage, private individual plans and small group plans increasingly did not, and prior to July 2012, they were not required to provide coverage for maternity-related expenses. In 2004, 82% of plans included maternity coverage while in 2010, only 12% did. In some parts of the state, it is less than 1%. When women can get By contrast, at least 50% of health plans cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction remedies, a stark gender inequality.