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New Law Requires All Insurance Plans To Include Maternity Coverage

Aired 7/5/12 on KPBS News.

Maternity coverage is now the law in California.

— As of July 1st, all health insurance plans in California must include maternity coverage. It's a major change.

Maternity coverage has long been a part of group health insurance plans. But it's been a different story for women who had to buy coverage on the individual market.

Less than 15 percent of individual plans included it. Women who wanted it had to pay more, with some plans requiring a $5,000 deductible.

Kathy Kneer, president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said women were in a tough position.

"The cost of the maternity coverage just made it impossible," Kneer said. "So many women had to delay their pregnancies, or had to self-fund them 100 percent of the cost. And you know, unfortunately, not all women were in a position to afford that."

The new law guarantees women who have insurance access to a wide array of maternity benefits, including prenatal care.

The law puts California out in front of the Affordable Care Act, which will require all insurance plans to include maternity benefits by 2014.

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