Are you ready to start a family? The Affordable Care Act (ACA) may make it easier than ever to plan for your -- and your children's -- health care. Since 2010, the ACA has made significant changes to the availability of care and coverage, including new provisions for maternity and pediatric services.
With all the changes, you may not be aware of the many great benefits the ACA offers. Here's an overview of the Affordable Care Act maternity care, breastfeeding support, and pediatric care benefits that any couple planning to have a child should know about.
Under the ACA, insurance companies are required to offer maternity coverage, and pregnancy can no longer be considered a preexisting condition to exclude women from care. Some of the covered essential health benefits include:
- Prenatal care. The ACA includes routine preconception and prenatal care visits, labor and delivery costs including complications, and postpartum care for you and your newborn -- all without a co-payment or a deductible.
- Preventive care. Under the ACA, women, children, and newborns have access to important preventive care without additional costs. Some of these essential prenatal preventive services include folic acid supplements and screenings for gestational diabetes, Rh incompatibility, anemia, and other potential pregnancy complications.
- Infection screenings. Certain infections can harm your unborn baby. The ACA allows for screenings for these issues, including urinary tract infections, hepatitis B, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Counseling. The ACA guarantees services for expecting moms to ensure their well-being and the health of their babies. These services include help for cessation of drug and tobacco use, as well as screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence.
The ACA also gives women better access to lactation support, supplies, and counseling. Moms can obtain these services from skilled providers during pregnancy and after delivery. Your insurance also now covers a new breast pump for each pregnancy as part of the ACA.
The ACA requires insurance providers to fully cover preventive care and screenings for infants, babies, and children without co-payments, coinsurance, or deductibles.
Once your baby is born, your bundle of joy has guaranteed access to newborn immunizations, preventive medications, hearing tests, and metabolic and genetic screening. Newborn screenings are required by law, but the specific screening panel varies by state.
As they start to grow up, your children will continue to receive services that are guaranteed under the ACA. These services include immunizations, blood pressure screenings, hematocrit or hemoglobin screenings, vision and dental screenings, developmental screenings, behavioral assessments, growth measurements, and other types of preventive care.
Thanks to these Affordable Care Act maternity and pediatric benefits, you can start your family knowing that you'll have access to the essential health care services you and your kids need.