NYCLU: Lawmakers Prioritize the Health of Pregnant Women

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
June 18, 2015 11:30 am

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NEW YORK — The New York Civil Liberties Union today commended the State Legislature for passing a bill that allows uninsured women who become pregnant to sign-up for health insurance without delay.

“In a rare bright spot this legislative session, our elected officials have wisely recognized that health care during pregnancy reduces health care costs and improves the health outcomes of both women and children,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “No woman should have to forgo prenatal care simply because she cannot afford the hefty out of pocket costs. ”

Currently, individuals and businesses may only sign up for health insurance coverage during “open enrollment” periods designated throughout the year. However, under the Affordable Care Act and most non-marketplace insurance plans, certain qualifying events – such as getting married, divorced, gaining citizenship or having a child – allow people to enroll in a health care plan outside of that open enrollment period. While having a child was considered a qualifying event, pregnancy was not.

“The cost associated with prenatal care and delivery average more than $20,000 even for uncomplicated pregnancies,” said NYCLU Legislative Counsel Katharine Bodde. “To reduce infant mortality rates and improve healthy birth outcomes, our legislature has taken an important step to making sure women and families get the health coverage they need.”

The bill passed in both houses and is now expected to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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