The news of a baby arriving in the family brings immense joy, not only for the would-be parents but also for other family members. However, with all the happiness that pregnancy and motherhood bring, the shadow of hefty medical bills and rising expenditure always lurks in the background.

A pregnant woman requires constant care and medical attention – from nutritional supplements to monthly tests to hospitalisation and delivery, medical bills keep piling up. Further, the post-delivery care of the mother and child is equally expensive. All these expenses can add up heftily to become a huge financial burden for the expecting parents. A viable solution to tackle this scenario is to buy a maternity health insurance plan.

What is maternity insurance?

Maternity insurance is a plan designed to cover the maternity and healthcare expenses of expecting mother and her newborn baby. Generally, a maternity benefit is provided as an additional rider or add-on with your existing health insurance policy. Sometimes, corporates also provide maternity benefits to their female employees along with their group health insurance policies.

However, maternity riders generally have a sub-limit that may render them insufficient to pay for the entire expense of pregnancy. Thus, buying a comprehensive pregnancy health insurance plan could be a smart option.

Why do you need maternity coverage?

Medical expenses are increasing by the day. One needs to be prepared well in advance to deal with expected and unexpected medical expenditures related to the delivery of baby and post-delivery care of the mother as well as the baby. By purchasing a maternity health insurance policy, you will get coverage for all your maternity expenses including doctor’s consultation fees, diagnostic tests, nutritional supplements, medications, and hospitalisation charges.

When should you apply for maternity coverage?

Ideally, you should seek maternity coverage before conceiving the baby. The reason being, sometimes insurance companies deny providing cover if a person is already pregnant. As per some insurers, this is considered a pre-existing condition. In addition, a pregnancy health insurance policy has a waiting period of 2-5 years before the actual benefits come into play. Hence, it is advisable to seek the best maternity health insurance plan as early as possible as it will help you plan in a better way.

Things you should consider before buying a maternity insurance policy

Coverage: While buying maternity insurance in India, you need to ensure that the policy provides adequate cover for all pregnancy-related costs such as medical check-ups, tests, medications, hospitalisation, delivery and other unforeseen pregnancy complications.

Waiting period: Most pregnancy insurance policies have a waiting period of 2-5 years, which means you have to wait for a certain period of time for the commencement of the policy and to avail the maternity benefits. Thus, it is advisable to purchase a maternity insurance policy well in advance so that you can enjoy the benefits at the required time.

Terms and conditions: Just like any other insurance plan, before buying a maternity health insurance policy, you must read all the related literature thoroughly. Before buying a plan, you must analyse and compare all the features, benefits, terms and clauses.

How can you claim the benefits of maternity coverage?

If you have a pregnancy health insurance policy, you must inform your health insurance provider about your pregnancy. While making a claim of your maternity coverage benefits, you must remember that the sooner, the better. Thus, once you get hospitalised for the delivery of your baby, you should file a claim with your insurance company without any delay.

You need to plan well and insure yourself adequately to make your pregnancy a memorable experience. By keeping the aforementioned points in mind while buying maternity health insurance, you can fetch the best available deal. There are several maternity insurance plans available in the market that provide health insurance for pregnant women, offering a series of maternity benefits.

Bajaj Finserv Pocket Insurance, for instance, provides affordable insurance solutions for your specific needs, including Pregnancy Complications Insurance. This insurance plan for expecting mothers offers a coverage of up to Rs. 50,000 at a premium of just Rs. 499.The over addresses maternity complications that require prompt medical attention and can incur high expenditure.