Legislation in New York secures health insurance access for pregnant women

pregnant mothers women health care

Governor signs bill allowing pregnant women to enroll for coverage through state’s exchange

New legislation signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will ensure that pregnant women will be able to enroll in the state’s health insurance exchange whenever they please. Originally, pregnant women would have to wait for the exchange’s open enrollment period in order to find coverage. Those with qualifying life events can enroll for coverage whenever they want, but the state did not consider pregnancy to be such an event until the new legislation was signed into law.

Normal open enrollment period will come to an end in January of 2016

The open enrollment period began on November 1 and will end on January 31, 2016. Consumers still have time to enroll for health insurance coverage, but those doing so now have missed the deadline to ensure that their policies go active on January 1. Without active insurance policies, consumers could be exposed to a federal penalty, which will place more financial pressure on uninsured consumers in 2016. Some may qualify for waivers, which will protect them from the federal fine, however.

Legislation wins praise from prominent groups

pregnant mothers women health careThe new legislation signed by Governor Cuomo has been praised by the March of Dimes and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Both organizations believe that the legislation will ensure that women and their children will have the access to the health insurance coverage that they need. Previous to the legislation, the organizations suggested that the state’s health insurance exchange was not meeting the health care needs of mothers-to-be.

Access to health insurance coverage may improve birth outcomes throughout the state

New York has become the first state in the country to designate pregnancy as a qualifying life event for special enrollment into insurance exchanges. Some pregnant women may also qualify for Medicaid coverage, which serves as another avenue these consumers can use to find the coverage they need. By expanding the availability of health insurance in New York, pregnant women may find it easier to access valuable medical services. According to the March of Dimes and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some 28,000 children are born premature, with more than 7,000 being born with birth defects.

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