According to the American Pregnancy Association, as many as 13 percent of women who get pregnant each year lack medical coverage. To help with the cost of prenatal care and delivery, pregnant women without medical insurance may be able to find resources, such as Medicaid, that cater to the uninsured and underinsured.
The federal Medicaid program provides health care coverage to families, individuals, children and pregnant women who live in low-income households. Individual states determine Medicaid eligibility requirements for pregnant women, but most states offer coverage to women living in households with income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. If you are eligible for Medicaid, the state will pay for your prenatal care, delivery, and any complications of the pregnancy for up to 60 days after your baby's birth. To apply for Medicaid, contact your state's department of health care services.
Many hospitals and doctor's offices offer financial assistance programs to people who don't have insurance coverage and can't afford to pay their medical bills. Qualification requirements for these programs vary by provider. Typical requirements include lack of insurance, a limited amount of insurance coverage, and low income or limited resources. If you qualify for assistance, the provider may reduce your bill by a certain percentage or eliminate it entirely. To learn more about financial assistance, ask your provider about available programs.
Some nonprofit organizations provide assistance to pregnant women who have low income or no medical insurance. The program may operate as a part of a hospital network, or it may exist separately. These organizations may help cover the cost of medical care for pregnant women who meet certain qualifications, or they may act as a support system to help pregnant women find assistance from other programs, such as Medicaid. To learn more about charity programs that apply to you, ask your doctor or contact a local hospital.
If you cannot qualify for financial assistance programs or Medicaid, you may be able to reduce the burden of pregnancy-related medical bills by asking for a payment plan. To further promote the health of pregnant women and children, all states also offer the Women, Infants and Children program to qualifying residents. The program provides health care referrals and money for supplemental nutrition to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children under five who live in households with low income.
- American Pregnancy Association: Health Insurance for Pregnant Women
- Medicaid.gov: Pregnant Women
- USDA Food and Nutrition Service: How to Apply
- University Hospitals: Hospital Charity/Financial Assistance Program
- Franciscan Alliance: Patient Financial Assistance and Billing Process
- Franciscan Saint Anthony Health: Prenatal Assistance Program: Respecting Life from its Beginning
Amanda McMullen is a freelancer who has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics and a second bachelor's degree in integrated mathematics education.