Should You Pay Extra For Maternity Insurance Coverage?

Print Friendly

In light of the birth of my third child yesterday I posted about the average cost of delivering a baby.  As a follow up I thought we should ask this question – should you pay extra for maternity insurance coverage?

It is becoming more common for insurance companies to add maternity insurance as an additional option (called a maternity ‘rider’).  For example, you might pay an additional $2,000 per year for maternity coverage.

Photo by Rob Gale

Remember that companies that offer maternity riders plan to recoup their cost because they know those who have the insurance have it because they (obviously) intend to have children.  I know Dave Ramsey frequently recommends his listeners not get the maternity insurance coverage, but pay cash for the delivery instead.

Maternity Rider Insurance Points To Consider

  1. If you are a Christian you might consider MediShare which is a Christian health insurance substitute which has a very reasonable maternity charge.
  2. Determine the cost of adding maternity to your insurance.  EHealthInsurance is one of the fastest ways to compare multiple insurance plans and policies.
  3. Visit your local hospital and ask them what would be the cost of delivery if you prepaid in your second or third trimester.  Will the negotiate a discounted rate?
  4. Consider the option of a Health Savings Account.  You can read some good introductory information here.

Now you have the most of the mathematical information, but there are several factors that cannot be numerically quantified when considering a maternity rider or maternity insurance coverage.

  1. How soon do you plan to have children? Remember some couples have difficulty so it could be a lot longer than you plan.  On other occasions couples have changes of plans.  You might say two years, but it could turn out to be four.
  2. Are you disciplined enough to save the amount you would have paid if you don’t get the maternity rider? If you can automate the payment to another account you can save the money yourself.  If you know you wouldn’t do that well then consider the rider.
  3. Peace of mind. This is the reason most people get maternity insurance.  It provides us with peace in the midst of all those what if questions.  What is that worth to you?
  4. If you have previously had children what was your experience like? Typically those who healthy natural deliveries can expect that to be a pattern for future children.
  5. Remember you most companies require you to have the maternity rider before (typically 12 months) you have the baby.  Biologically this means you need to buy the insurance before you get pregnant.

 Think You Can't Afford Quality Health Insurance?


  1. Tom Evans says

    Based upon my research, some insurance plans will only automatically enroll the newborn under the plan if you have the maternity rider. Otherwise, the newborn will have to go through the underwriting process. If the newborn has any complications at birth, this will make it difficult to get insurance. This in itself may make paying the cost of the rider worth it.

    • says

      Thanks for the tip. That would definitely be a reason to get the rider.
      But, be sure to ask. In my case my wife does have maternity, but not automatic acceptance for the infant – hmmm.

  2. SC says

    Where do you get the information about the maternity rider adding $2,000 in a year? Our current provider is asking for an additional $900/month — $10,800 a year for a maternity rider. (And they won’t even give any details until we start paying.) Just curious…

    HSA is looking mighty tempting.

    • says

      @SC For $900 per month I would not add a maternity rider. That is crazy expensive!
      The $2,000 was based on my insurance company at the time I published this article. That rate has now increased to $2,500. I guess you might want to shop around for something with a more affordable maternity rider.

  3. says

    Craig, thank you very much for your blog. My name is Filipe, I am Brazilian and I have been sent back to Brazil as a missionary by an American church where I’ve done an internship. Next year is the year we should go back to the states, everything is planned, but my wife has just got pregnant.

    We don’t have an international health insurance. My question is if you know any American health insurance that would accept my wife and pay part of the costs even if she gets the health insurance already being pregnant, do you know such a health insurance?

    Would you be able to email me about it?

    Thank you very much.


  4. laura says

    Thank you for your information. We just find out that I’m pregnant and we are short in money. We have insurance thru my husband. The new policy for the next year is that we will have to pay 10% of any procedure (we are in VA). We have international cover, I’m dominican….maybe we can plan something else. It is sad that I can enjoy my pregnancy with this numbers.

  5. says

    Hi me and my wife recently moved to california and we are expecting in january. What can we do to get cover or are we exempt from US cover being from the uk. could you send me some details please?

    • says

      The US doesn’t have any coverage (unlike the UK). Instead, you’ll need private insurance. However, I doubt you’ll find an insurance plan that will cover the delivery costs. The only possibility is if you have a job with open enrollment. Let me know if you have other questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *