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Health insurance and pregnancy 

Saarrah Mussa
Written by  Saarrah Mussa
6 min read
Updated: 06 May 2024

What is maternity health insurance?  

Most health insurance policies excluded routine pregnancy treatments e.g., ultrasounds, childbirth, and postnatal care. Maternity health insurance generally refers to health insurance plans that offer specific coverage for pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care.

Standard health insurance typically doesn't cover pregnancy: 

  • Most health insurance policies exclude routine pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care. This is because they are often considered "natural" events rather than medical conditions. 

  • However, your existing health insurance might cover certain complications arising during pregnancy that impact your health beyond the normal course of pregnancy. 

pregnant woman

How does being pregnant affect my policy if I’m already covered? 

In the UK, being pregnant generally won't significantly impact your existing health insurance policy.

Routine pregnancy care is not covered: 

  • Standard health insurance policies in the UK typically exclude routine pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care. This is because the NHS provides these services free of charge to citizens and legal residents. 

Complications might be covered: 

  • While routine pregnancy isn't covered, your insurance might offer coverage for certain complications arising during pregnancy that impact your health beyond the normal course. This could include:  

    • Emergency situations like ectopic pregnancies or abnormal cell growth. 

    • Treatment for complications after childbirth, such as a retained placenta. 

Flare-ups of pre-existing conditions related to pregnancy, as long as the treatment aims to return you to your previous state of health.  

  • Pregnancy isn't a pre-existing condition: Your insurance company cannot deny coverage or increase your premium solely based on your pregnancy.  

  • Inform your insurer: While not mandatory, it's advisable to inform your insurance company about your pregnancy. This ensures they are aware of any potential pregnancy-related complications that might require coverage. 

Can new-borns be added to existing health policies? 

Yes, new-borns can usually be added to existing health insurance policies in the UK, but there are some things to keep in mind: 

Adding a new-born to your existing policy is generally possible: 

  • Most private health insurance providers in the UK allow you to add your new-born to your existing policy. 

  • This typically involves contacting your insurer and completing the necessary paperwork. 

Timely addition is crucial: 

  • It's highly recommended to add your baby to the policy as soon as possible after birth. 

  • Many insurers offer "Medical History Disregarded" (MHD) underwriting for new-borns added within a specific timeframe (often within 90 days of birth). This means any pre-existing conditions the baby might have are not excluded from coverage. 

Consequences of delayed addition: 

  • If you wait too long to add your new-born, the insurer might apply standard underwriting, which means, your baby's health will be assessed, and any pre-existing conditions could be excluded from coverage and could lead to limitations in their health insurance benefits. 

Additional points: 

  • Policy types: Some health insurance plans might have specific requirements or limitations regarding adding new-borns. 

  • Cost: Adding a new-born will usually increase your monthly premium. 

  • Contact your insurer: It's best to contact your specific health insurance provider directly for their specific process and timelines for adding a new-born to your policy. 

When should I consider when taking out health insurance as an expecting mother? 

Ideally, consider health insurance before getting pregnant or very early on. This allows you to benefit from the full range of potential coverage and ensures smoother addition of your new-born later.

If you’re already pregnant: If you discover your pregnancy after the ideal timeframe, it's still worth exploring options. Some insurers might offer partial coverage or specific benefits even if you haven't met the waiting period.  

Are scans, blood tests, and additional health checks covered? 

In the UK, standard health insurance generally does not cover scans, blood tests, and additional health checks related to a routine pregnancy. Here's why: 

NHS covers routine pregnancy care: The National Health Service (NHS) provides comprehensive maternity care, including scans, blood tests, and other check ups throughout pregnancy. This means these services are usually free for citizens and legal residents. 

Health insurance focuses on non-routine events: Most health insurance policies in the UK exclude routine pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care because they are considered natural events rather than medical conditions.