Still on Your Parents’ Insurance? Great! Just Don’t Get Pregnant
Under the Affordable Care Act, people up to age 26 are eligible to qualify as dependents on their parents’ insurance policies. This is great news if you’re one of the thousands of newly minted graduates wallowing in un- or underemployed post collegiate hell, but it’s less awesome news for women who, in their prime reproductive years, might find themselves SOL if they get pregnant — parental insurance plans, as a general rule, do not cover abortion or maternity costs. Better double up on both the Ortho Tri Cyclen and condoms, ladies. If you get knocked up while you’re still on your parents’ plan, you’re both literally and figuratively fucked.
Employer-sponsored insurance plans aren’t allowed to discriminate against women by refusing to provide maternity coverage, thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. But no such rules apply to dependents of insurance policy holders. Pre-Affordable Care Act, this unpleasant reality only hit families with a teen daughter who got pregnant. But now that more women are spending the better half of their twenties as “dependents,” a lack of prenatal care coverage can be financially devastating for an entirely new swath of the population.
Young women who get pregnant already start out behind the 8 ball. Allowing insurance companies to issue policies that deny prenatal coverage to dependents only adds to the burden of young motherhood, cruelly turning one of the Affordable Care Act’s most attractive provisions into something that’s neither affordable nor caring.