Posts Tagged ‘health insurance’

Thinking about maternity leave

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

pregnant woman with ipadHave you heard that Netflix is offering unlimited paid parental leave to their employees? During their first year as new parents, Netflix employees can take as much time off as they choose while still earning their normal salary. This is really an amazing policy. If you’re working and pregnant, you probably have thought a lot about maternity leave. Over the past 30 years, the participation rate in the labor force of women with children under age 3 has risen from 34.3% in 1975 to 60.9% in 2011. Half of all mothers work during pregnancy and return to work after their baby is born. And among women who worked during their pregnancy between 2005 and 2007, 58.6% returned to work 3 months after giving birth and 72.9% returned to work 6 months after giving birth. It is important to know what options are available to you so that you can plan ahead.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employees can take time off from work without pay for pregnancy- and family-related health issues. The act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that you can keep your health insurance benefits during the leave. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months, and worked at a location where the company has 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

In addition to the FMLA leave, your employer may have its own maternity leave policies. Talk to your boss or someone from human resources (also called HR). Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Does your employer offer paid maternity leave? Some employers offer paid time off for the birth of your baby. Talk with someone from HR to find out if you have paid maternity leave.
  • Does your health insurance continue while you’re on maternity leave? If you get your health insurance through your employer, your HR person can tell you about what your insurance plan covers. You may need to change your health plan after your baby’s born to make sure he’s covered, too.
  • Does your employer offer flex time or telecommuting for when you’re ready to go back to work? For example, can you work fewer hours each week or work from home at the beginning? And then increase your hours or your time in the office little by little over a few weeks?
  • Are there other programs or services that your employer offers to new moms? If you’re breastfeeding, find out if your employer has a lactation room. This is a private space (not a bathroom) that you can use to pump breast milk. Employers with more than 50 employees must provide this space for breastfeeding moms.

Finally, choosing a child care provider that works best for you can be tough. Try to explore your options and finalize your plans before your baby arrives.  If you can organize childcare before you deliver, it will make your time at home with your baby more relaxing and enjoyable.

Your Mother’s Day gift to you

Monday, May 12th, 2014

beautiful-skin2Did you know that, even though open enrollment season for health insurance has closed, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is open all-year round?

Good news for pregnant moms

This is good news for expectant moms who cannot afford coverage, since it means that they can still get the prenatal care needed for a healthy pregnancy. While the details of the benefits vary by state, coverage includes, at minimum, all health care related to pregnancy, labor, and delivery and any complications that may occur during pregnancy. Eligibility levels also vary slightly by state. Generally, a total family income of $44,122 for a family of four will qualify pregnant moms for low-cost or free health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP. (But check with your state for details.)

Good news for children

This is also good news for children or teens up to age 19. Through Medicaid or CHIP, children can get regular check-ups, immunizations, doctor and dentist visits, hospital care, mental health services, prescription drugs, and more.  Qualifications are based on total family income. Check with your state to see if your children qualify.

Good news for women who are not pregnant

But this news is especially welcome for uninsured women who are not pregnant. As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states now have the choice to expand their Medicaid coverage to low-income adults, an option known as “Medicaid expansion.” States who have taken up the Medicaid expansion option will now provide comprehensive, affordable coverage to eligible adults. In these states, low-income women of childbearing age are now able to obtain coverage before and between pregnancies, offering them access to services to improve their overall and reproductive health. These essential services include screening for high blood pressure and chronic conditions, tobacco cessation, weight loss programs to reduce the risk of diabetes, substance abuse counseling and other preventive and therapeutic care.

So, this Mother’s Day, to learn more about Medicaid and CHIP and how to enroll, visit HealthCare.gov or your state’s Medicaid agency. Or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669). For the sake of a healthy pregnancy, your kids’ health, and the health of your future children, give yourself the gift of health insurance.  Even though there is no deadline, why wait?

This post is courtesy of Michelle Sternthal, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Federal Affairs, Office of Government Affairs at the March of Dimes.

Health insurance registration deadline running out

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Open enrollment for health care coverage in 2014 through the Health Insurance Marketplace ends this Monday, March 31st. Affordable plans are still available. Across the country, 6 out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less – some for a lot less.

If you haven’t registered for a plan yet, start by gathering important information – like birthdates and Social Security or document numbers – for everyone who will be on the application.

You can sign up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at HealthCare.gov (which is working smoothly now). You can also sign up in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov. Confused? Need help? You can call 1-800-318-2596, any time, any hour, and a trained representative will help you enroll.

Moms and babies need health coverage, so be sure to choose a plan now. If you choose a plan by March 31, you’ll avoid tax penalties for 2014.