Covered before Conception

The arrival of a baby is one of the most exciting times in any parent’s life, and before the baby is even born many soon-to-be-parents are busy planning for their new arrival. Watching the seemingly endless videos on YouTube, reading magazine articles and books, even listening to advice from friends, and of course soon-to-be-Grandmas. Which cot is best, which car seat will be suitable to take the Newborn home from the hospital but still be suitable for at least a few years use, which backpack carriers or slings will be best for your back, what will the baby eat, nappies, clothing and of course which hand-me-downs from siblings, cousins and family friends can be recycled and will be suitable, or the many hours sifting through baby names, what they mean, what’s popular today, even thoughts of education in a few years. There just seems to be so much to consider.

Baby

The amount of time and energy that goes into planning before your Newborn arrives is immense, but very few expecting parents would put Health Insurance high on their list of priorities and spend much time on ensuring it is really up to scratch, for both mother and child. Many will simply check that their existing health insurance policy, to see that the maternity benefits cover the basics like prenatal costs (check-ups and scans), that there is some reasonable monetary limit set for the delivery and perhaps a higher limit to cover any emergencies, should there be complications. In fact, in some countries such as in the UAE, it may even be mandated by law that health insurance policies must come with some emergency coverage or 30 days of Newborn cover under the mother’s policy.

For many people seeing they have such “standard” maternity coverage with some decent looking limits is enough. Why should there be a problem right? Many of the Health Insurers offering the Maternity Coverage as part of their Health Insurance plans are well known and reputable insurance companies. They simply would not be selling insufficient or inadequate insurance coverage, right? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

In many cases it is not mandatory, or even sometimes when it is mandatory, to offer complete and fully comprehensive coverage for mother and child. For many, the limits can be too low to cover the possible costs and there will be restrictions and caveats when it comes to covering to later insuring the child. It is therefore advised that those thinking of any new additions to the family plan ahead by contacting their preferred hospital and/or clinic of choice and finding out exactly how much everything costs. It can be a nasty shock and trying to upgrade to better and more comprehensive insurance once pregnant can be very expensive as it is typically something most insurers will load (charge an extra premium to cover the anticipated costs) so it’s important to get the right insurance in place before you get pregnant.

The biggest risk by far though is not that the Maternity Cover leaves people short for an extra scan if required or for the delivery, as most can afford to top up or pay some excess costs from their pocket. The biggest risk is when something does not go to plan when there is an emergency or life-threatening situation, and it can happen more often than most people think.

“Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising (according to the World Health Organisation). That’s more than 1 in 10 babies. Thankfully for many it often means nothing more than a week or two in an incubator, and many insurers offer 30 days of Newborn Cover under the Mother’s Health Insurance so there is no problem.

Sometimes however any Newborn Cover may be inadequate, often with meager limits in the tens of thousands of US Dollars only, but in many top hospitals in places like the UK, Germany, UAE, Singapore, China, keeping a premature baby in an incubator for a month could cost more than USD 50,000. And what if the child needs to stay in an incubator beyond 30 days? Imagine a further 2 months which would cost USD 100,000, and then what if the baby had other ailments and conditions, perhaps needing surgeries or long-term treatment and care? Once born the parents would need to get their baby insured with their own Health Insurance, but which insurer would be willing to cover a child that is not in good health and will likely go on to cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars? The parents will often be left with 3 choices.

  1. Pay a huge amount to get their Newborn insured, as most insurers will seek to cover the expected costs.
  2. Get substandard coverage with heavy restrictions, which is still expensive (it may be mandatory for visa purposes in some countries).
  3. Don’t insure the Newborn, but even then, the parents will need to pay all the expenses from their pocket.

This could ruin some families and leave them in debt for life. A child born four months premature in a private hospital in the UK could run up a bill of over USD 200,000. But it doesn’t stop there. What if the child also has complications or underlying health problems, what if they need to return to the hospital to see specialists or undergo surgeries for months or years after they are born?

Most Health Insurance policies do not cover Developmental Disorders, but there are countless other expensive congenital (present from birth) medical conditions, diseases, or disorders that can be covered by insurance. Sadly, there are so many to mention, and although people often think it will only happen to someone else someone always has to be that person. From lung disorders such as bronchogenic cysts, congenital CCAMs, cystic fibrosis to heart problems such as valve defects and various other frightening syndromes, hernias, to sickle cell disease, Toxoplasmosis, Hormonal or Amino Acid, Fatty Acid Endocrine, Lysosomal Storage Disorders, or even clef palette, clubfoot, the list just goes on and on. Most people without a medical background simply would not imagine the sheer volume of conditions and complications that could challenge and complicate a fragile Newborn life.

Insurers will usually get a full assessment of Newborn’s health including full medical reports and are experts in working out exactly how much everything will cost and charging for it accordingly. The situation that unfolds, as the amounts that may need to be paid become apparent can be a total disaster, that is crushing for the family and even put the health of the Newborn at risk. Every expecting parent wants the best for their children, if their Newborn had a medical problem they would want the best healthcare and treatment possible, however their failure to ensure proper coverage before the birth may make this prohibitively expensive or even impossible. When it is fully understood what is at stake any rational couple planning for a new family member will make sure the Health Insurance is at the top of their list of priorities taking more time and give more thought to Maternity Cover.

The arrival of your new baby should be one of the most special moments in your life and you should be free to enjoy every moment of the experience, to spend hours on the frivolous things such as choosing a name, and not have to worry about the health of mother and child. With all HanseMerkur designed Health Insurance plans not only are all congenital conditions covered but if insurance cover is requested by the insured parent/s for a Newborn baby within the first 30 days of birth the child we be insured at the going rate for a 0-14-year-old as per the standard rates with no underwriting (no assessment of the Newborn’s health) and loading (charging any additional amounts). The Newborn will simply be insured and taken care of. With a HanseMerkur Health Insurance plan when the mother is insured by us, we undertake to insure any future children. In other words, any Newborns are fully covered before they have even been conceived.