Basic Maternity Care Coverage Might Be on the Chopping Block
When it comes to maternity coverage, the US ranks far below the rest of the world. The US is in last place among developed countries for maternity leave, and while certain cities have paved the way for more progressive policies on the mat leave front (looking at you, San Francisco), the future of maternity healthcare isn’t showing signs of improvement anytime soon. Trump’s nominee to run Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act has a contrasting vision for maternity care in America.
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) February 16, 2017
Seema Verma is making headlines after her confirmation hearing with the Senate last week in which she said she believes maternity coverage should be optional. Senator Debbie Stabenow asked Verma if she believes maternity benefits should continue to be mandated for all insurance policies sold under the Affordable Care Act. To that question, Verma responded, “Some women might want maternity coverage and some women might not want it, might not choose it, might not feel like they need that. So I think it’s up to women to make the decision that works best for them and their families.”
This response left many women’s rights advocates and organizations flabbergasted. According to the Guttmacher Institute, almost 45 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. The proposed reforms for the ACA are currently unclear about how pre-existing conditions would be handled. If you can’t tack on maternity care should you unexpectedly need it, that’s bound to leave you with a mountain of medical bills.
A report by Bustle places the average maternity bill for doctors’ fees and hospital charges around $9,700 for a standard delivery and roughly $12,500 for a cesarean section. If complications should occur, that bill can easily spike up to $300,000.
Currently under the ACA, “Maternity care and childbirth — services provided before and after your child is born — are essential health benefits. This means all qualified health plans inside and outside the Marketplace must cover them.” Additionally, you get this coverage even if you were pregnant before your coverage starts. Pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition and pre-existing conditions are currently covered under the ACA.
But let’s say Verma says you CAN tack maternity coverage onto your plan even when an unexpected pregnancy occurs; would that solve all the controversy here? Not exactly. If only women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant pay for maternity care, that puts the financial burden on women primarily ranging in age from 18 to 35. And then that poses another serious question: What about the males who helped get these women pregnant? Should they not also be responsible for some of the cost associated with this coverage?
Since last week’s confirmation hearing, Verma was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday afternoon. Her exact plan here remains unclear, but now Verma is in charge of all ACA reforms. She will also manage the health benefits of 140 million Americans and will spend over $1 trillion each year through her department.
What’s your response to Verma’s proposed policy? Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.