Short-term disability insurance takes the financial worry out pregnancy bed rest before birth. You doctor may order you to stop working months before your delivery. Can you afford to take the time off?
The coverage also allows mom to enjoy a maternity leave pay while she recovers from childbirth and bonds with her newborn baby. The very same policy may also pay benefits if mom delays her return from work because of postpartum problems.
- Gain security in case of complications before birth
- Enjoy maternity leave income after normal childbirth
- Spend time bonding with your baby without financial stress
How Short-Term Disability Works for Pregnancy
It may sound too good to be true. The rules work differently than you might expect. Click through the tabs and subtopics to discover if a policy is right for you.
Pregnancy Preexisting Conditions
Short-term disability pregnancy preexisting conditions are generally not covered. Most policies contain exclusions for preexisting medical conditions. Two exclusions generate the majority of denied claims.
- A preexisting condition may mean, having a sickness or physical condition for which you were treated, received medical advice, or had taken medication within 12 months before the effective date. If you miss work because of a preexisting condition, the policy will not make claims payments if the income loss occurs during the first 12 months of effective date.
- Giving birth as the result of a normal childbirth, including C-section, which occurs within nine months of the effective date.
You can purchase short-term disability while pregnant, but the policy will cover only future conceptions.
Purchase 3 Months before Pregnancy
The ideal time to purchase short-term disability is at least three months before getting pregnant. You may also need to begin the process even sooner, as delays inevitably happen.
By purchasing at least three months prior to conception you avoid triggering exclusions for normal delivery. Normal childbirth must occur after nine months of the policy effective date. One in eight babies delivers preterm. You can begin your policy prior to conception, and still deliver inside the exclusion period.
As you will shortly learn, the most valuable option requires cooperation from your employer. Sometimes that process takes more time.
Quote and Illustration
Get a short-term disability quote to estimate the monthly premium cost, and compare the cost to the expected claims payments for normal childbirth. See examples of what the policy may also pay in the event of complications, premature birth, postpartum disorders, accidents, or an illness.
You will find that the expected claims payments for highly likely medical events may greatly exceed your premiums. The ratio of claims to premiums explains why you want to purchase coverage. The ratio also motivates action.
Purchasing Individual Coverage
You may have visited this page because your employer does not offer short-term disability, or you missed their annual open enrollment, and need a policy to begin right away. You can choose between two types of individual policies. One offers greater convenience, the other better benefits.
Individual short-term disability for maternity leave allows you to purchase coverage without involving your employer. The process is simple and easy. Contact an agent licensed in your state to complete an application.
This policy type has one major drawback. Recovery from labor and delivery is not covered!
Voluntary short-term disability for maternity leave does cover your recovery from labor and delivery! You can enjoy maternity leave income for a medical event you know is highly likely to occur.
You can enjoy these better benefits if your employer agrees to offer a voluntary option. You pay the premiums yourself via payroll deduction for an individual policy you own. There is no direct cost to your employer to provide the option to you and your co-workers.
You must ask your employer. We provide talking points, and help with setup with your employer.
Applying for Benefits Before Delivery
Apply for short-term disability benefits when leaving work before birth due to complications. Your policy may begin making claims payments after satisfying the elimination period. Your doctor needs to verify the medical reason why you are unable to work. You employer must verify that they are no longer paying you.
Appplying for Benefits After Normal Childbirth Birth
Complete an express childbirth claims form after giving birth. Simply have your doctor validate the type of delivery – vaginal birth, or C-section. The carrier will quickly forward your claims payment provided the date of birth be at least nine months after the policy effective date.
If you need to extend your leave beyond the fixed standard for your type of delivery, your doctor must certify the medical reason behind why your recovery was delayed.
Short-Term Disability for Pregnancy Bed Rest
Short-term disability for pregnancy bed rest can be a lifesaver. Too many women must choose between earning an income and getting the rest needed to protect their health, and the viability of their unborn baby. A policy that replaces income while on bed rest makes the right decision so much easier.
Doctors commonly prescribe bed rest prior to delivering your baby. A doctor’s note must include a medical reason why you are unable to work. Bed rest by itself is not a qualifying medical reason to file a claim.
Individual policies bought online may cover pregnancy bed rest, but not normal childbirth. While not as valuable as voluntary plans, they may address this very common exposure. You do not need to involve your employer for this plan type.
Short-term disability for high-risk pregnancy complications works in a similar fashion. Individual programs bought online may cover high-risk complications. Your doctor’s note must include a medical reason why you are unable to perform the primary duties of your full time occupation.
Twenty five percent of conceptions result in one or more medical complications. High-risk pregnancies are most common with twins and triplets, when the mother is older, or when other medical factors are involved. Your doctor may order you to stop working to protect your health, and the viability of your newborn.
Ten to twenty percent of conceptions end in miscarriage. After miscarriage mom may miss time from work to recover. The length of the benefit payment will vary based upon the time needed to recover from the Dilation and Curettage (D&C) and return to work.
Valid Claims Reasons
File the claims form with your carrier after your doctor certifies the medical reason you are unable to work. Find the most common valid claims reasons for short-term disability during pregnancy below.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – numbness or tingling sensation in hands
- Ectopic Pregnancy – When the embryo implants outside the uterus
- Gestational Diabetes – Mother’s body does not make enough insulin
- Group B Streptococcus – Bacterial infection in the vagina
- Premature Labor – Mother’s body tries to deliver the baby before reaching full development
- Placenta Previa – When the cervix is clogged by a layer of the uterus
- RH Negative Disease – The mother develops antibodies against her baby
- Sciatica – pressure on the nerve brought on by the developing baby
These medical conditions must interfere with your ability to perform the regular duties of your full-time occupation in order to qualify as a valid claims reason. Morning sickness and stress are not normally valid reasons.
Short-Term Disability Maternity Leave
Short-term disability maternity leave insurance makes claims payments while you recover from normal childbirth. Having a policy allows you to spend more time bonding with your baby, and less time worrying about how to pay your bills.
Only policies covering normal childbirth make claims payments during maternity leave. What has overwhelming advantages to growing families is a money loser for insurers. Therefore, there are a few extra steps needed in order to qualify.
Purchase coverage for normal childbirth through a voluntary employee benefit offering prior to conception.
Maternity Leave Pay
Short-term disability maternity leave pay works as follows.
- 6-week cash payment for vaginal birth
- 8-week cash payment for C-section delivery
- Payments begin after satisfying your elimination period
- Elimination period is commonly one or two weeks
Voluntary short-term disability provides the majority of paid maternity leave benefits in the United States. There are no federal laws requiring this popular and common entitlement found in other countries. Only five states provide paid leave. Help spread the word.
Taxes may affect your maternity leave pay amount. Post tax payments allow mom to enjoy the full amount. Pretax payments make the claim payment taxable. By paying with post tax contributions, you maximize your return.
Reasons to Extend Maternity Leave
Medically based postpartum problems are the most common reasons to extend short-term disability for maternity leave. Having a baby is a high-risk activity. Things may not go the way you envisioned. You may be injured during delivery, or develop an infection. The main disorders that might affect you after a vaginal delivery include fissures, infections, and postpartum hemorrhage. The leading risk factors include:
- A baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Use of forceps or vacuum
- Repair of large episiotomy tear
Delivery via C-section is a relatively safe surgical procedure, but entails a higher risk of complications as it is far more invasive. The most common disorders associated with this surgery are blood clots in your legs or lungs, anesthesia related nausea, and bowel movement problems (ileus).
Many new mothers experience postpartum depression after delivery. You may experience feelings of extreme sadness. This change in mood may be caused by a variety of factors including:
- Changes in hormone levels
- Lack of sleep
- Changes in work relationships
Short-term disability for postpartum depression rarely works. Check your policy language to see if it excludes mental disorders. Most exclude losses for mental disorders. Many do not consider postpartum depression as a valid reason to extend maternity leave benefits.
Returning to Work
Your plans for returning to work do not extend short-term disability maternity leave benefits. Medical necessity determines the length of claims payments. They continue as long as your doctor indicates you are unable to work, or the payment period ends.
A choice to stay at home longer is unrelated to your medical condition. You can choose to return to work long after recovering physically. However, your policy may no longer make claims payments.
The same holds true for women not returning to work after maternity leave. The policy makes claims payments while you are physically unable to perform the duties of your full-time occupation. You plans to quit working do not affect benefits.
Short-term disability insurance for pregnancy and maternity leave makes great sense. Act now!
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