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My daughter is a registered nurse who has health insurance, but it doesn't include maternity coverage. Is there a policy that can be purchased now? She is about four or five weeks pregnant.

Starting in 2014, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, individual and small-business health plans must cover pregnancy and newborn care and will not be able to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, including pregnancy.

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Unfortunately that's not the case now. She won't be able to find a private individual insurance plan to provide maternity coverage when she's already pregnant. Federal and state governments are setting up special high-risk insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions until 2014. The high-risk pools build on the efforts many states have made to provide a safety net for people who can't qualify for insurance because of a medical condition. However, applicants must have been without medical insurance for at least six months to be eligible to enroll in these plans.

She may have other options, though. Have her check with her state and county health departments and state insurance department to see if they offer any programs for underinsured pregnant women. California, for instance, runs Access for Infants and Mothers, an insurance program for middle-income pregnant women who don't have maternity coverage.

Read more about how pregnancy complicates health insurance options.

Last updated: Nov. 25, 2010
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