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WV Focus: Reproductive Education and Equality

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Maternity Care & Coverage

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka. “Mamacare,” maternity care is now required to be covered by all health insurance plans sold in the Marketplaces and all new individual and small group plans sold outside of the Marketplaces starting January 1, 2014. Maternity care is a part of the ten “essential health benefits.”

This means more women will be able to access prenatal care. Late or inadequate prenatal care contributes to poor birth outcomes for West Virginia babies, including premature and low-weight births. Every woman deserves the health care that she needs to have a healthy pregnancy that will start her baby and her family on an early path to wellness.

Even with “Mamacare” in place, there are still some loopholes that result in denying certain pregnant women maternity care.

Because WV FREE knows that all women deserve fair treatment and quality health care, no matter what their age, income, or other circumstances may be, we set to work with a broad coalition of state and national partners, a group of dedicated policymakers, and our passionate WV FREE supporters to fix one of these loopholes that prevent maternity care from being covered.

After years of work, in spring 2013, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed Senate Bill 22, requiring maternity care coverage for dependent daughters. This piece of legislation corrects a loophole in certain insurance plans, including Public Employees’ Insurance Agency (PEIA) which covers our hard-working state employees, that exempts dependent daughters from maternity care coverage.

WV FREE is continuing work to ensure all women in West Virginia have quality and affordable maternity care coverage so we can ensure women and families have a healthy head start.

If you are on your parents’ health insurance and believe you are being denied maternity coverage unfairly, please contact the WV FREE office at info@wvfree.org or 304.342.9188.

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Margaret, Rachel and Jim from WV FREE with coalition partners and legislators, including Delegate Nancy Guthrie, Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, and Senator Ron Stollings, at Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s bill signing of Senate Bill 22.

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