Government has been taking steps to make sure "to be moms" get all the benefits.
It was only in March, when Lok Sabha passed Maternity Benefit Act in order to increase paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks.
Later, on May 17, Union Cabinet approved implementation of Maternity Benefit Program on Pan-India basis whereby it will give benefit of Rs 5,000 to pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Apart from government providing benefits, to-be parents should also be prepared for a "secured" baby.
Here we are talking about Maternity Insurance.
What is Maternity insurance?
According to PolicyBazaar.com, Maternity insurance covers expenditure related to both caesarean and normal delivery. Health Insurance with maternity benefit is a right way to lower the burden on your pocket.
Speaking with Zeebiz, Atrey Bhardwaj, Category Head – General Insurance,Bankbazaar.com, said, "Almost every couple hopes to become parents at some point, and having a maternity insurance can help you offset quite a bit of the expenses associated with pregnancy and childbirth. It essentially includes any hospitalisation traceable to childbirth, and also includes medical termination of pregnancy and pre/post-natal expenses. The coverage may also be extended to infants in case they are diagnosed with a congenital disorder or some critical illness."
Should you take it?
You should definitely have a maternity cover. If your health insurance provides it and it is adequate, then you do not need to opt of an additional cover. If not, you should definitely opt for maternity insurance.
As per PolicyBazaar, if you are a working professional, you should check whether your employer offers maternity in the group policy or not. In a majority of corporate group policies, maternity is an add on benefit with a sub-limit not exceeding Rs 50,000.
Talking about the cap amount, Bhardwaj said that group and individual policies that offer maternity as an add-on cover have a cap on the coverage amount. This can either be a flat figure or a percentage of the overall sum assured. Most policies cap it at approx. Rs 50,000. As the actual delivery expenses, especially in metro cities, comes to around Rs 1 lakh, this amount falls short of what is required.
Moreover, if you look at the limitations, maternity policies have a waiting period of 3-4 years before benefits come into play. Though claims cannot be declined if the policy has been bought but there might be situations when the insurer refuses to pay incase of late pregnancy, say 35 years and above.
However, some companies offer an option to reduce waiting period if you pay an extra premium.
Hence, do not forget to opt for maternity insurance to help ease off the rising medical costs.