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 before and after they give birth.
There is a three-part answer to this very common question about whether you can purchase these valuable policies even after you are already pregnant.
- Why most women do not buy the policies
- Why some probably should
- Enrolling process after conception
Why Most Will Not Buy Short Term Disability While Pregnant
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.
Carriers exclude pregnancy as a preexisting condition. A short-term loan can provide the needed cash when you take your maternity leave.
Apply for a short-term loan if you do not qualify to receive benefits.
Pregnancy Preexisting Conditions
Most carriers include two sets of legal language that discourage women from buying short-term disability while pregnant. The same 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 you apply for disability benefits, the carrier will deny your claim if coverage began after conception.
If you began thinking about buying short-term disability while pregnant, several state-based options may provide assistance.
State temporary disability programs may provide coverage. 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.” Six allow for compensation on your own disability, the remainder restrict access to caretakers of sick family members. Your spouse may qualify for compensation while providing 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.
Why You Should Buy After You Are Already Pregnant
Getting short-term disability after you are already pregnant may make sense. Do it if you can get the right type of policy. It may be your one and only chance. Policies covering normal childbirth are not easy to obtain, and they are the only variety that creates maternity leave income.
You may suffer an accident or illness, and you may become pregnant again in the future. You do not want to find yourself with the same dilemma.
Other Conditions Covered
You now 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 after you are already 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.
Voluntary policies covering maternity leave are the one and only answer.
If your employer offers the option for you to obtain short-term disability after you are already 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.
Enrolling in Short-Term Disability after Conception
You can enroll in short-term disability insurance after conception. For most women, nothing prevents you from enrolling a program. Most carriers do not ask pregnancy-related health questions on the application, and otherwise healthy mothers-to-be pass underwriting. The policy simply will not cover your existing pregnancy, but may cover other conditions.
Get a quote to understand premium costs and maternity benefits for future pregnancies only before making your final decision.
No Pregnancy-Related Questions
Most women can sign up for short-term disability after conception 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 may be able to sign up for 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 enroll in short-term disability after conception 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.