If you are pregnant and do not have health insurance, you may feel vulnerable and overwhelmed. While an individual health insurance plan that covers coverage of labor is available through the exchange of Affordable Care Act health insurance, you can only register in the plan during open registration or during a special registration period triggered by a qualifying event.
If you become pregnant during an open registration, you can register for a program that will be effective in the coming year. All new plans are required to have pregnancy benefits under the ACA, and pre-existing conditions – including pregnancy – are no longer an obstacle.
But if you find yourself uninsured and pregnant early in the year, after open registration has ended but months before the open registration starts next year, certain circumstances can give you another opportunity to register.
Although some pregnant women may qualify for a special registration period due to a qualifying event, the pregnancy itself is not a qualifying event. But there are exceptions in New York, and that will also happen in Connecticut starting in 2019.
As of June 2018, there are 136 hospitals and national health clinics that are required to provide free or low-cost care because they receive grants or loans based on the Hill-Burton Act. Go to the admission office of one of these facilities and let them know that you want to apply for free treatment or a reduction in Hill-Burton fees. You must meet the requirements of low income, but you don’t have to be a US citizen.
This facility is only required to spend a certain amount of money each year on Hill-Burton care, so you must use their services before the year’s money is lost. This includes hospital fees, but doctors do not have to pay because it is not maternity insurance; it is a type of charity care.
Charity Care Organization
Organizations such as Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services offer programs to assist women in the care of pregnancy. Services vary by location. Basic services include counseling and referrals. However, some locations provide services as large as maternity homes that provide free maternity care, postpartum care, childcare classes, and rooms and lodgings. At the very least, they will teach you about what resources are available in your area.
Apple Health for Pregnant Women (Medicaid)
Apple Health for Pregnant Women, also known as Medicaid Pregnancy provides free health insurance, Maternity Support Services (MSS), Infant Case Management (ICM), Childbirth Education (CBE) and many other services. More information about each of these services is on this page. For women who qualify, medical services are available during pregnancy and for two months after your pregnancy ends: all medical treatments, including prenatal care, labor and post-pregnancy follow-up by medical providers, comprehensive dental care, and some vision care. And one year of full medical care for your newborn baby. Transportation to and from all medical appointments and interpreter services is also available. For further details, especially if you are pregnant and under the age of 21, please contact the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.
Use our Benefit Finder to see if you qualify.
Maternity Support Services (MSS)
Maternity Support Services, also called SPM, are available for women who meet the conditions at any time during pregnancy and continue 2 months after the pregnancy ends. MSS is offered in addition to medical and prenatal care. Services are provided by a team consisting of public health nurses, nutritionists, counselors and community health workers. All clients are examined for possible risk factors for pregnancy. After the screening is complete, the MSS team creates a personalized maintenance plan for each client. All clients receive advice about healthy pregnancies, care information and, if necessary, will be helped to connect with other community services.
Some topics that might be discussed during SPM visits are: ways to look after yourself and your family, information and support about pregnancy, how to feed and care for newborns, how to eat healthily on a limited budget, understand family planning and contraception options and many again. MSS appointments can be held in your home, office or other safe place.
Baby Case Management (ICM)
Baby Case Management, also called ICM, is available for eligible babies and their parents from a 3-month-old baby to his first birthday. The Baby Case Manager will provide you with information, and if needed, assistance to access medical, social, educational and other services for you and your baby. ICM includes: home and office visits, screening, referrals and advocacy. Transportation to and from all ICM appointments is available and interpreter services are also available.
Childbirth Education Class (CBE)
Pregnant women who meet the requirements and those who support them can attend group labor education classes (CBE) for free when classes are taught by DSHS-approved CBE educators. CBE usually starts during the 3rd trimester and the topics include: how to have a healthy pregnancy, pregnancy warning signs, preparation for breastfeeding, developing your own birth plan, what to expect during labor and delivery, newborn care and life in House. Transportation to and from all CBE appointments is available and interpreter services are also available. To find childbirth classes in your area, contact the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.
Additional Medicaid Pregnancy Services
After 2 months after pregnancy, women receive a Medical ID card for family planning and / or family planning. The coverage of family planning will continue for 10 months after the medical treatment and other First Step SPM ends. Women who qualify with Medicaid access alcohol and drug assessments, as well as care services. You may qualify even if you work, in the military, single parents, or live with your parents. This program is available for pregnant women both citizens and non-citizens and for newborns up to one year of age. Pregnant and caring women are the priority population for this service through the Division of Health and Behavior Recovery. For more information about this service, contact 360-725-3740.