When the Duchess of Cambridge checked into the King Edward VII Hospital in London with a nasty bout of morning sickness, she didn't have to worry about such common matters as health insurance deductibles, emergency room copayments or whether a claims examiner might balk at the three-night stay.
When one is carrying a British heir to the throne, after all, one is entitled to health care fit for a king.
For you though, royal treatment isn't likely, even if you have good health insurance. Here are some of the things Her Royal Highness, the former Kate Middleton, doesn't have to ponder in pregnancy -- but you should:
Does your policy cover maternity care?
Most individual health insurance plans -- the kind you buy yourself, rather than get through an employer -- do not cover pregnancy and maternity care. Nationwide just 13 percent of individual health plans available to a 30-year-old woman provided maternity benefits in 2009, according to the most recent figures from the National Women's Law Center.That will change in 2014 when individual and small-group health plans will have to provide maternity coverage, along with other so-called "essential health benefits." Moreover, insurers in 2014 won't be allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums for people with illnesses or existing health conditions, including pregnancy. (See: " Health reform sticks: Now what?") Until then, if you don't have access to employer-sponsored coverage, either through your job or a spouse's employment, check whether you qualify for Medicaid, the national and state health insurance program for low-income individuals, or a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. To qualify for the PCIP, you have to have been uninsured for at least six months, and you have to pay the premiums yourself.