Can you purchase short-term disability insurance while pregnant? This is a common question, typically asked when the need is most evident. Women who are expecting a baby frequently face an unpaid maternity leave when they leave work to give birth.
There is a three-part answer to this very common question about whether you can buy these valuable policies even when you are already pregnant. Part 2 and 3 may not be very popular.
- You can purchase short term disability while pregnant
- You may decide that now is not the right time
- You really should obtain coverage at work if you can
You Can Purchase Short Term Disability While Pregnant
You can purchase short-term disability insurance while pregnant. The coverage is very important to have, as many women miss substantial time away from work while expecting, and after delivering a baby. Get a quote to understand premium costs and maternity benefits before making your final decision.
Twenty five percent of women experience one or more complications of pregnancy and may need to stop working weeks, or months before her scheduled due date. Lost time at work is typically unpaid. This often leaves families with a huge hole in the budget, and expenses usually rise in tandem.
For most women, nothing prevents you from obtaining a program. Most carriers do not ask pregnancy-related health questions on the application, and otherwise healthy mothers-to-be pass underwriting.
No Pregnancy-Related Questions
Most women can buy short-term disability when already pregnant because the underwriting process does not exclude them. Most carriers do not ask pregnancy-related medical questions in their underwriting process. This is true for group, voluntary, and direct-buy plans.
Many group policies sold at worksite locations are guaranteed issue: meaning that no health questions are asked. At some point, your employer offered the option to employees, and enough of your co-workers enrolled to meet the carrier’s participation requirements. If you are a new employee, you can get a policy during your initial open enrollment with no medical questions to answer.
There are also voluntary plans sold at worksite locations. Some are guaranteed issue (meaning no medical questions), others are simplified issue (meaning just a few medical questions), and others employ full underwriting (meaning lots of very detailed medical questions).
Programs sold directly to individuals all employ full medical underwriting. In addition, there is a second limitation: they do not cover normal childbirth. However, the full underwriting application questions rarely ask if you are expecting.
Healthy Mothers-to-Be Okay
Healthy mothers-to-be can purchase short-term disability when already pregnant because they will not conflict with “broad net” underwriting questions. Broad net underwriting questions attempt to catch more obscure medical issues not addressed by a named medical condition.
However if you are on bed rest, or experiencing complications, or are currently unable to work due to your condition, you may be caught by a broad net question. A question such as “have you missed ten consecutive days of work, or are you currently working,” might disqualify you for coverage.
May not Buy Due to Policy Limitations
Most women decline to buy short-term disability insurance while pregnant. There are many good reasons why it still makes sense to move ahead, but the one downside often outweighs the positives. Adding premium expenses is hard to justify when carriers exclude pregnancy as a preexisting condition. When you apply for disability benefits, the carrier may deny your claim.
A lucky few find some assistance through state programs.
Pregnancy Preexisting Conditions
Most carriers include two sets of legal language that discourage women from buying short-term disability when already pregnant. The language may also discourage those with existing health issues.
- The programs will not pay claims for preexisting medical conditions during the first 12 months. Every gestation will have resolved itself long before the preexisting condition limitation expires.
- The programs will not pay claims for normal childbirth, including C-section delivery, which occurs within the first 9 months of the effective date. When bought when already expecting, normal childbirth usually occurs inside this exclusion period.
If you began thinking about buying short-term disability after conception, several state-based options may provide assistance.
See if a state temporary disability program provides coverage for you. Five states automatically enroll private workers in plans. Apply for benefit payments after you are unable to work. You will need to complete some claims paperwork.
Tap into unemployment compensation. Twenty-two states have modernized their unemployment programs to include “compelling family reasons.” Some allow for compensation on your own disability, others restrict access to caretakers of sick family members. Your spouse may qualify for compensation while caring care for you at home on bed rest.
Protect your job rights by learning state-based maternity leave laws. Several federal maternity leave laws apply across all fifty states with qualifying criteria.
You Should Purchase Voluntary Coverage
While still pregnant, you should purchase short-term disability insurance covering normal childbirth – if you can. These policies are not easy to obtain, and they are the only variety that creates maternity leave income. Remember, you may conceive again in the future. You do not want to find yourself facing the same dilemma.
Voluntary short-term disability for maternity leave covers normal childbirth. This policy type is only available when employers choose to offer the option. Not every employer makes this beneficent choice. Many policies are portable, meaning that you can continue with them no matter where you work.
Other Conditions Covered
If you already pregnant you have a keen awareness of the importance of protecting your income. You are facing at least six weeks of lost income, and perhaps two weeks more if you deliver via C-section, and maybe far longer if complications arise. You may be wondering how the family will be able to get by without money coming in.
You may want to obtain short-term disability while pregnant to protect your income in other ways. There is always the possibility that you may need to stop working due to an accidental injury, or a serious illness. These maladies can strike anyone at any time. You may rely on your income to make ends meet at home, even if your spouse is working and is the primary breadwinner in the family.
You May Conceive Again
If you are expecting now, you may conceive again in the future and face the same dilemma. Having a policy that covers normal childbirth in place might be a good idea. You may not have the option to do so in the future.
You may change jobs. Your new employer may not offer this option – many do not. The majority of visitors to this website are looking for policies that cover normal childbirth that they can obtain directly without going through an employer. This option simply does not exist.
If your employer offers the option for you to purchase short-term disability while pregnant, do it now. Your current condition will not be covered, but you will have a valuable policy that you can keep for life (or at least until you are done having children), that is very hard to get.