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Californians Tying the Knot for Valentine’s Day in 2012 Will Have New Family Planning Options

July 1, California health insurance will undergo significant change in how it covers health care for women and babies. eCAHealthinsurance has advice for newlyweds to explain the difference between shopping for self coverage and for a family.

Feb. 16, 2012 - PRLog -- Californians who get married on Valentine’s Day in 2012 can look forward to a greater choice of maternity coverage in California health insurance plans this summer.  Although Gov. Brown signed laws requiring individual and group health insurance plans to cover maternity benefits in 2011, that doesn’t go into effect until July 1, 2012.  eCAHealthinsurance’s president, Wiley Long, advises couples that looking for self coverage is a lot different than finding coverage when they are ready to plan for a family.  

Long cautions, “You will only find a handful of options before July 1, and you’ll probably find that maternity coverage has a waiting period of six or more months.  Until then, I know that three companies currently cover maternity needs:  Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser.”

These companies offer maternity benefits through Health Savings Account (HSA) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans.  A range of deductible options is available with any of these types of policies.  The deductible determines how much the policyholder needs to spend on health care before non-preventive services are covered.  Preventive health care is exempt from co-insurance, co-pay or deductible requirements when provided by doctors in a plan’s provider network.  For this reason, checking the provider list is essential.

An HSA plan can be either an HMO or a PPO plan, but only an HSA plan allows the policyholder to start a special tax-advantaged savings account.  The difference between HMO and PPO plans mainly lies in how policyholders can access health care.  HMOs typically require the policyholder to choose a primary care doctor from the network, and that doctor is authorized to control when the patient gets coverage to see a specialist in most non-emergency situations. Women are allowed to choose an OB/GYN in many cases, though.

PPO plans have negotiated discounted care from the doctors and hospitals in their network, but policyholders may also use out-of-network providers.  Going out of network does result in higher out-of-pocket costs, though.

Long says to also look ahead for the care a plan will provide after the baby arrives.  Preventive care, such as “well baby” and “well child” doctor appointments are exempt from co-insurance, co-pay or deductible requirements, but only through in-network doctors.  This is also true for immunizations.

When California health insurance companies are required to offer maternity benefits beginning July 1 of this year, newlyweds will have a larger selection to consider.  Maternity coverage is already available, though, from some of the state’s largest insurers.  Further information on maternity coverage may be found at www.eCAHealthinsurance.com/maternity.htm.  Since provider networks and access to specialists are different depending upon the plan selected, those are two of the main concerns to focus on whether shopping for self or family coverage.  The other critical factor is the amount of the plan’s deductible.  eCAHealthinsurance has answered many other frequently-asked questions at www.eCAHealthinsurance.com/how-to-guide.htm.

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About eCAHealthinsurance:

As an independent broker, eCAHealthinsurance has become a leader in providing strategies to enable Californian families, individuals and small businesses to reduce their cost for health care and insurance coverage.

Californians may use eCAHealthinsurance’s online resources by visiting www.eCAHealthinsurance.com/ to compare coverage options. Instant quotes with side-by-side comparisons of coverage options from multiple insurance companies help consumers get quick results.

Californian families, individuals and small businesses may also schedule consultations with eCAHealthinsurance expert advisors to compare options by calling 1-866-585-7662 from 6 AM through 8 PM Pacific.

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Tags:Maternity Coverage, California Health Insurance, July 1 changes, Hmo, Ppo
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