Pregnancy and Trump???
I’ve never spoken about politics here, and I honestly never planned to do so. But pregnancy and childbirth have always been political. We don’t like to think of them that way, but some of our most divisive issues politically center around pregnancy.
With the recent major change in the political landscape, there are some things that all expectant parents need to know. The changes will come from the same place – the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, better known as “ObamaCare”.
Under the ACA all insurance plans were required to let you see an OB/GYN without a referral from your Primary Care Physician and all plans were required to provide maternity coverage. If you are pregnant right now (January of 2017) you should be fine – BUT you will want to pay special attention to any changes in your plan. You will want to be sure that you speak with someone AT THE HOSPITAL where you will be delivering to be sure you understand your coverage and your financial obligations.
If you are not pregnant yet but are planning a pregnancy please be aware that with the repeal of the ACA insurance companies will no longer be required to write out any changes in plain “readable” English. This means that you will need to pay close attention to any written correspondence you receive.
For expectant parents who are planning to breastfeed this means that the Lactation Consultant visits during your hospital stay, or offered by your pediatrician are no longer required to be covered by your insurance. You may need to pay out of pocket for those services. Of course, low-income mothers, who already have a low rate of breastfeeding, will be completely priced out of this support.
The actual pumps and other supplies necessary for mothers to be able to re-join the workforce while still breastfeeding will no longer be covered, either. Which is fine, because the provision that gives them the right to pump will be gone as well.
“… require that employers provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth and provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.”
If you are planning on breastfeeding and trying to pump while you are at work you will no longer have legal protection to do so. You will need to speak with an HR representative about whether your company will change policy now that the laws are changing. You may need to make alternate plans, such as pumping in your car or making peace with pumping in the bathroom.
Maternal Mental Health
The ACA set aside $3 million to for new grants that individual states could use for programs aimed at helping women at risk for, or who are suffering from, maternal mental illnesses.
“Activities would include delivering or enhancing homebased and support services, including case management and comprehensive treatments; inpatient care management services ensuring the well being of the mother, family and infant; improving support services (including transportation, attendant care, home maker services, respite care) and providing counseling; promoting earlier diagnosis and treatment and providing information to new mothers.”
$3 million to split between 50 states and the almost 1 million moms each year who will deal with a maternal mental illness may not seem like much, but it was more than was ever available before. There are already private groups who are working around the world to save the lives of mothers and babies – but having support at the state and federal level is key.
What Does This Mean?
Many expectant parents have come of age under the ACA and may not have any idea of the range of protections and laws that it includes. My goal is to make sure that you – as a new or expectant parent – understand the changes that are coming our way. In general, it means that you will no longer have some basic rights and coverages.
- Your insurance may now have a yearly cap and having a baby could put you at (or near) it.
- Complications in your pregnancy could lead to you being labeled as having a pre-existing condition and being ineligible for future care.
- Low-income women who are pregnant are no longer immediately eligible for Medicaid and prenatal care.
- Workplace protections for new parents who breastfeed are gone.
- Coverage for lactation consultants and breast pumps are no longer mandatory.
- You may need a referral to see your OB/GYN
- Your plan may drop its maternity coverage altogether
What Can We Do?
This President was elected with a Republican House and Senate who feel they have a mandate from the people to repeal the ACA.
Yes, I think you should make your voice heard.
Yes, I think you should stand up for other parents in your community who are marginalized and may not have the access to resources that others do.
I also think that you should print out your insurance policy’s Explanation of Benefits now and be sure to track any changes. Start saving, or saving more, to make up for the gap in coverage.
Donate to organizations like Planned Parenthood and Postpartum Progress, who help pregnant women and new families regardless of ability to pay. And before you leave a comment or send an email YES, PLANNED PARENTHOOD GIVES PRENATAL CARE. No,it is not available at every single office, but it is widely available. If you want to know if it available at your local office, simply call and ask. I got prenatal care at Planned Parenthood. If you’ve seen the video floating around online that supposedly ‘proves’ that Planned Parenthood only provides abortions you should know that it was a scam. You have been lied to.
Find local organizations who do the same and support them.
Pay attention to how your Senators and your Representative votes (or has voted) on this issue.
My dear friend, Brandi Riley, wrote a post about what parents can do over the next four years. If you’re looking for direction on how to be the best mom or dad or parent that you can be during this time, she is a wonderful resource.