Yes it’s true. All individual and group medical insurance policies (old, existing, recent and new) MUST include include maternity benefits on or before July 1, 2012. There is no need for anyone to change policies to obtain the full maternity benefits. No one needs to apply or transfer their coverage to obtain full maternity benefits. No medical underwriting can be required for in-force policies.
What will happen to your insurance costs? I am sure you will see an increase but how much remains to be seen. Those of us “stuck” in plans that include maternity coverage we don’t need could see a flattening of our rates. With this new risk being spread across the entire market, unlike it ever has been before, the impact may not be so severe.
As an agent I have mixed feelings about the mandate. Because there are only a handful of policies available on the market that include maternity coverage, it would have been a short time until those would have suffered so much adverse selection that we were about to have no coverage for an individual trying to purchase coverage outside of the group market. I truly think a complete lack of coverage would impact how much basic care pregnant women would have foregone.
Carriers are still holding back new business rates for July. I’ll let you know how this affects the market as the mandate takes hold.