Apparently, former convicts have a better chance of getting insured over pregnant women. However, on Wednesday a bill was introduced that could change that.
This week, State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan introduced a bill to amend the current insurance law to add pregnancy to New York’s list of qualifying events. As it currently stands getting married or divorced, becoming a citizen, getting released from prison, or even permanently moving outside of one’s plan coverage area all qualify individuals for a special enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but getting pregnant does not.
Along with State Senator Krueger Assembly Member Aravella Simotas and New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer are also urging passage for the bill. Last month the Comptroller released a report, “Time to Deliver: Pregnancy and the Affordable Care Act,” highlighting the risks facing pregnant women who cannot access prenatal care coverage outside of the official healthcare enrollment period. The report findings show a significant shortcoming in federal law regarding access to health care for a specific subgroup of the population.
“From birth control without co-pays to free preventative reproductive health care, the ACA has dramatically improved women’s health across the country. However, the law fails to provide a way for uninsured women who become pregnant to secure quality, affordable prenatal care,” Stringer told msnbc.com. “With the introduction of legislation, New York will be the first state in the nation to give women the opportunity to secure coverage when they get pregnant—strengthening public health, protecting the financial stability of New Yorkers, and ensuring equal access for all.”
Health care for pregnant women increases significantly during pregnancy and it is important that women be able to access the proper health care necessary for the betterment of themselves and their developing child.
Women who receive late or no prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low-weight baby, and their baby is five times more likely to die.
Insurance companies are arguing that healthy women then would not purchase coverage and wait until they are pregnant. However the women who would be affected by this bill are those who do not qualify for Medicaid due to their income level yet do not receive enough coverage through their employers.
“When women don’t have health insurance, they’re more likely to have problem pregnancies, increased health care costs both for themselves and the infant. If it’s born early, if it’s born underweight, with good prenatal care, you can avoid all of these health care problems that are much more expensive than allowing women to join health insurance when they’re pregnant,” Krueger says.
If New York enacts legislation or regulation it will be the first state in the nation to allow pregnant women health care access year around.