Insurance premiums for pregnant women could go up considerably per the new GOP health bill, intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Under the new GOP health bill, the American Health Care Act, pre-existing conditions—pregnancy included—will not be protected. As a result, pregnancy could become up to 425 percent more expensive under President Donald Trump's health plan, per estimates from the Center for American Progress.
“Under the GOP bill, there would be nothing stopping insurers from charging more if a person has a history of cancer, depression, or even a C-section...or if that individual is pregnant,” reports the Huffington Post.
This lack of protection for people with pre-existing conditions could result in insurance premiums increasing more than $17,000 for a woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy, estimates the CAP. But these estimates are just addressing relatively healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies. With unforeseen issues during pregnancy and delivery, the costs could become even higher.
In an op-ed for syracuse.com, Dr. Leah Kaufman, a legislative chair for District II of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, wrote, "I am alarmed at Congress's latest health care repeal bill. It is a disaster for women, especially those who have been pregnant or want to be pregnant."
She continued, "Today, all health plans must cover maternity care." But under this bill that would change. "Approximately 13 million women stand to lose maternity coverage under this bill. Like a decade ago, insurers would also be allowed to not cover Cesarean sections at all or charge women a 25-percent premium surcharge for this coverage."
Having a baby is already a costly expense in the United States. Referencing a January 2013 report by Truven, the New York Times reported, "The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866."
The new GOP health bill is an amended version of the AHCA, which is intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Though House GOP leaders pulled the AHCA from the floor of the House of Representatives without a vote on March 24 due to widespread opposition among conservatives and moderates, the new version of the bill was passed by the House on Thursday, May 4. The “Final vote was 217-213, with 20 Republicans and all Democrats opposing the bill,” reported CNN.
Next the bill will head to the Senate, where Trump is confident the bill will pass. "This is a great plan. I actually think it will get even better. This is a repeal and replace of Obamacare. Make no mistake about it," Trump said at a celebratory White House appearance with House Republicans.
If Donald Trump's health plan goes into effect, added costs would make the expense of pregnancy even greater. This may make those who want to become parents or add another member to the family take pause to be sure they can truly afford it. And for those pregnant already, this plan could make upcoming hospital bills far larger than anticipated.
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