All you need to know about maternity insurance in the UK
Mums-to-be in the UK don’t generally have to worry about maternity, delivery, or even newborn care as the country is home to a comprehensive taxpayer-funded national health service (NHS) that provides care to all citizens and legal residents. But, with its long-wait times, many women give the NHS a pass to opt for the private healthcare sector. If you too would like to do so, securing a maternity insurance plan can help you avoid out-of-pocket payments. In this Pacific Prime UK article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Private birth: pros and cons
Planning for a pregnancy in the UK? One of the first things you need to consider is whether you’ll stick with the NHS or turn to the private healthcare sector. This is an important decision because it’ll be the basis of whether you should get maternity insurance. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of the UK healthcare system before you make your decision. If you don’t mind spending more for the best possible care, or worry that your pregnancy might be classed as high-risk or about unexpected complications, then going private makes sense.
- Immediate consultations and treatments, without being put on a waiting list.
- Better range of options for specialists doctors and medical facilities that may not be available on the NHS.
- Access to the same obstetrician throughout your pregnancy and labour.
- More attentive care and extra comfort.
With that said, a private birth in the UK is bank-breakingly expensive. For instance, at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ in London, a package for a normal or assisted delivery costs £5000. For a C-section, it will cost you £6000. This is only for delivery, not including the cost of obstetrician, anaesthetist, or neonatologist fees. In some cases, these extra costs could be just as much as the delivery itself so make sure you account for this. You also have to pay £950 for any extra nights in the hospital. Given the costs of a private birth, being in possession of a good maternity insurance plan can save you thousands of pounds.
Coverage through maternity insurance
Maternity insurance can be incredibly useful to have, but it’s important to know what usually is and isn’t covered on these plans. It’s important to note that insurers typically view pregnancy and childbirth as a lifestyle choice as opposed to a medical condition, so this will affect what they are willing to pay for. Of course, not all plans were created the same and the best way to find out what coverage is provided is to speak to an advisor.
But, here we’ll compile some basic pointers to get you acquainted with the subject.
What you’ll be able to claim:
Costs of private maternity care needed for emergencies or complications are covered by insurers.
In most cases, these tend to include:
- Gestational diabetes.
- Retained placenta.
- Hydatidiform mole.
- Ectopic pregnancy.
- Ruptured membrane.
It’s advisable to read the policy fine print to see how the insurer defines pregnancy-related emergencies.
Some plans may also offer newborn coverage without the need for newborn underwriting. This means your bundle of joy will be covered from day 1.
What you’ll not be able to claim:
Antenatal (sometimes called prenatal) care is not popular with insurers as it isn’t a health complication.
Here are some other things you may struggle to get coverage for:
- IVF and fertility treatment.
- Routine check ups and pregnancy classes.
- Health conditions that aren’t connected to pregnancy such as morning sickness, backaches, or other pains.
- Obstetrician fees.
However, it may be possible to be covered for a number of these, either in the UK or abroad, if you choose an international health insurance plan.
Otherwise, you could either pay for the private healthcare yourself or go to the NHS for antenatal care and other healthcare services not covered.
For those of you new to the UK, your first point of contact with the NHS is your general practitioner (GP). If you don’t already have a GP, you can easily find and register with one.
Securing a policy for your needs and budget
You should secure a maternity insurance policy before you get pregnant due to a clause known as “waiting periods”. This is essentially the amount of time you have to possess the insurance before you can make a claim. Don’t worry if you get pregnant before your wait time is up – if you’re close to the end of the period you may still be able to make claims for delivery, which is generally the most expensive part of the process. For information regarding this and more, check out our maternity insurance infographic and guide.
When comparing plans, bear in mind these tips:
- Read the fine print to see what it covers and excludes. If in doubt, ask an advisor.
- Check the costs of the monthly premiums.
- Be sure you understand any policy limits or co-pays.
- Most importantly, take into account the waiting period.
Of course, the cost of premium is very important and will vary depending on the insurer. To find the most cost-effective plan without compromising on your needs, you can get in touch with Pacific Prime UK. As a brokerage with over two decades of experience, we can help you find individual, family, maternity, and newborn insurance. For a consultation or no-obligation quote, contact us today!
Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys travelling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Latest posts by Suphanida (see all)
- The employer’s guide to remote working in the UK - February 18, 2021
- The new COVID-19 variants: Everything you need to know - January 21, 2021
- Brexit: Tips for travelling to the EU in 2021 - January 14, 2021