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If you are an expat living in Asia and are female, young and/or unattached, you may not consider maternity cover to be relevant to your healthcare policy at this stage, but don’t dismiss it out of hand just because pregnancy seems a remote possibility right now. What few women (and fewer men!) realise is that you cannot purchase fully comprehensive maternity cover when you are already pregnant.
Circumstances can change quickly, and we all know that accidents can and do happen, so if you are female and are considering children at some point in the future, however distant, now is the time to think about putting cover in place.
One thing is for sure – when the time comes, you don’t want to have to pay the costs of pregnancy and childbirth out of your own pocket. Pregnancy is an expensive business even if everything goes smoothly. The cost of pre-natal scans and regular check-ups soon mounts up.
Then there is the birth itself – the cost of a hospital room, the obstetrician and midwives and in some cases, a caesarean section which doesn’t come cheap. In Singapore, for example, a complication-free caesarean will set you back $20,000. And then there is the post-natal care for both mother and baby whether that be routine care or for more complicated requirements. If you are an expat living abroad, the chances are that you will not be eligible for free healthcare for any of this which is why maternity cover is important.
But what do you need to think about when taking out maternity cover? Here are the five main questions to ask:
One of the reasons you need to think ahead is that often insurance companies will only pay out once a certain amount of time has passed between you taking out cover and falling pregnant (usually 10-12 months but it can be more). This is called the waiting period.
Some maternity plans will only pay out up to a stated maximum and you have to pay any extra out of your own pocket. Of course, it is difficult to predict whether your pregnancy and labour will go smoothly so try and get as much cover as you can afford.
Sadly, not all pregnancies go to plan. Babies are born premature, may need intensive care or may be born with a genetic or hereditary disorder. There can be complications for the mother too. Different levels of cover will offer different pay outs so make sure you are clear on what you are or aren’t covered for.
Some insurers offer lower premiums on the basis of splitting the cost of treatment with you, for example they will cover 90% and you have to pay the remaining 10%. This could be a good way of getting better cover for less money. It is worth talking your options through with a professional broker.
Younger women are more likely to be concerned about an unwanted pregnancy than the possibility of not being able to conceive but sadly many women do end up needing expensive fertility treatment to get pregnant. When looking at different policies, it is worth understanding if fertility treatment is covered and what effect that could have on your benefits if and when you do conceive.
Waiting until you become pregnant before taking out maternity cover is akin to shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted. Plan ahead and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that if the patter of tiny feet becomes imminent, you will be covered for any eventualities that might occur during your pregnancy, during the birth and immediately after your little bundle of gorgeousness has arrived.
If you would like to find out more about expat maternity cover or other types of peace of mind insurance get in touch today.