Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Maternity coverage: Men have babies, too

Under the Affordable Care Act, certain essential benefits are required to be provided by every health insurance plan, and that's why some people are getting letters from their insurers notifying them that less comprehensive insurance plans are being cancelled.

Many people in their 50s and 60s have been asking why they have to pay for benefits they don't need, such as maternity coverage.

Here's a story from the Los Angeles Times that tackles that question.


Anonymous said...

The link is to an article that justifies the question, but doesn't "tackle" it. Why not base the requirement on for whom you vote? You vote for Obamacare, you pay for it. Seems logical to me.

Anonymous said...

I'd be okay with that requirement if it also applied to all future wars and military engagements.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with the requirement - and I'm a 30-something with kids. I was briefly unemployed for a period during the Great Recession and had the choice to opt out of maternity coverage (I was smart enough to know NOT to get pregnant when I didn't have a job). My premium w/o it was $114/month (do-able on unemployment and with my well planned reserve of savings), to add maternity coverage would have put my premium at $360/month, which would have taken a considerable chunk of those unemployment benefits. I could have gone without coverage, but I'm not stupid enough to think I am invincible. But I certainly was smart enough to know how to not get pregnant when I couldn't afford a child (or the maternity coverage addition to my policy). Men and people in their 50s/60s aren't the only ones being saddled with coverage they will never use - imagine the women who simply don't want or even still can't have children. Why should they have to pay for maternity coverage - simply stated, to supplement those that will. Socialism plain and simple. As a woman, with kids, I even find this requirement by ACA unfair and difficult to defend.

Shamash said...

What some call a tackle, I call a fumble.

Article was same old socialist dribble.

Sure "society has a vested interest in healthy babies".

But that doesn't mean subsidizing the care for everyone who pops out babies is the answer.

Anonymous said...

It's as if Anonymous #3 never even read the article. This is the nature of insurance. As the article clearly pointed out, there are all sort of cross subsidies inherent in insurance - men pay for breast cancer in women, women pay for male prostate cancer, etc. An as the article also pointed out, when you start adding/allowing exclusions, coverage costs start to climb for specific groups. The only way to keep the affordable for everyone is toss everyone in the pool and cover everything. That way the costs are spread over the widest population. It's no socialism, it's insurance.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:49pm

Look on the brightside.

Now if you are unemployed you don't have to worry so much about getting pregnant.

Go out and have some fun.

After all, if you're working you'll probably have to pay more for your insurance under Obamacare simply because you have more.

But when you lose your job (or quit) you won't have to worry about having a baby because you can probably get the insurance coverage at a reduced rate or even free.

I think it's all part of some plan or the other...

Anonymous said...

I applaude Anon at 12:49. It seems she can hold herself accountable and understand the repercussions of her actions. This is the main problem today. There are many people that think someone that worked hard for what they have should bail them out of their problems which are probably their own fault. It's funny you can also get a subsidy on insurance if you are divorced, pay child support, or pay alimony. So maybe I should go cheat on my wife and get divorced and pay alimony and child support so I can get someone else to pay THEIR portion of MY insurance. Again, I'LL create a problem, but it is not MY fault and YOU should have to pay to fix it.

Shamash said...

Anon 1:51 pm.

One problem with this kind of "insurance" is that it goes over the line to introduce what is called a "moral hazard" in people's behavior.

You see this all the time when people are held less responsible for the risks they take.

Childbirth is not like prostate cancer, heart attacks, breast cancer, etc., etc. in that people don't go out and deliberately seek those diseases.

While most people DO KNOW how to go out and get pregnant and some even seek out pregnancy to get other "benefits" in their lives (either perceived or real).

And for the vast majority of people, pregnancy is TOTALLY preventable.

Pregnancy is not an "inevitable" part of life as some would have you believe.

So that's the problem with providing the pregnancy coverage over other coverage for diseases that ARE NOT PREVENTABLE.

And when you look at all other kinds of insurance, people don't get compensated for damage they deliberate do to themselves or their own property (even though many will try).

That's why we have insurance investigators.

This is a problem and it does subsidize the irresponsible among us.

It's like welfare as we've never seen it before...

Anonymous said...

This is Anon at 12:49 - and I actually DID read the article. Anon at 1:51 - The argument that insurance has always "spread the wealth" doesn't make it any less socialistic and doesn't make it right. Pregnancy is not an illness or a disease - it is a CHOICE in 99% of cases (minus rape). You know what causes pregnancy, you know what prevents it - it is called personal responsiblity.

Anon at 2:04 - I hope you are being facetious - that thinking is exactly what is wrong with society. Zero emphasis on personal responsibility.

Anon at 2:16 - thank you.

Shamash said...

Anon 2:16.

You are exactly right.

This tendency is called "moral hazard" and is well known among economists.

The fact that this healthcare law introduces so many new moral hazards into our society (as you have mentioned) is a disgrace.

I think you and I (and Anon 12:49) understand this.

I also commend anyone with the sense to do what she did under her circumstances. It is a rational response.

But I also know that this law will probably mean that in the future people probably won't behave as rationally.

Or rather, than it may be more "rational" to do something that would be considered stupid if they were somehow more responsible for their actions.

And that's truly a shame.

But it seems that the same people who are so hellbent on further gubmint dependency are fine with all this.

Anonymous said...


So you don't believe pregnancy should be covered by insurance? That's insane. Prenatal care is about $2k, an uncomplicated birth between $10k to $15k. Where are young families going to find that kind of money?

And since when was having a child considered "damage"? Maybe that's a hint to your problem.

I'll also note that pregnancy is NOT totally preventable as no birth control (other than not having sex) is 100% effective. In fact about half of births are surprises/unplanned despite birth control.

You agree that society has an interest in making sure we have healthy babies but I don't see a solution from you so far.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous still doesn't understand insurance. Insurance doesn't spread the wealth, it spreads risk.

I'll also note that if you are against "socialism" and you think insurance is "socialism" why do you even have insurance? Pay your own way and don't burden me and society with your health problems and costs. The thing is, you're a hypocrite. You want insurance when you need it but don't care about others and their needs.

Again, I'll note, no birth control short of no sex is 100% effective. Unless you gave up sex, you were still at risk as to having a child. Did you give up sex? If you didn't, then you risked having a child and would have pushed your costs on society. So once again, you are a hypocrite. You would have had your baby and others would have paid for it while you would have paid nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:49.

I was definitely being facetious.

Just remember, though, that the government is out to destroy people who think like you and me and others like us.

(Also said SOMEWHAT facetiously, though I do wonder sometimes...)

Anonymous said...

Anon at (first) 2:43 - you are wrong again. I don't want health insurance only when I need it (did you miss that part of my original post?), I have always had health insurance whether it was through my employer, my school, my husband's employer or private insurance that I paid for. I do (and always have) paid my own way, so don't act like you have any idea who I am or what I do. Hypocrite - you have no idea what you are talking about, or who you are talking to, so take your smug attitude elsewhere.

Had I gotten pregnant while I was unemployed, guess what - I would have paid the bills - you and your precious big government would have had no role because as I also stated in my original post - I had a healthy savings that made my brief stint unemployed easy to handle. And I, unlike some of your ilk that are applauding the PPACA, believe in personal responsibility.

Signed - Anon at 12:49

Shamash said...

How do you know anon 12:49 "would have had" a baby?

Fact is, she didn't.

Maybe it's OK if the insurance covered "accidental" pregnancies, just to cover your concerns.

Provided you could PROVE it was an accident.

Just as someone whose house burns down has to "prove" they didn't set the fire before they get the insurance money.

But, of course, you'd have to let the government into your bedroom to get that evidence, wouldn't you?

And I'm not so sure that even the big government crowd would approve of that.

Of course insurance spreads "risk".

But it spreads it among honest players, not thieves.

That's why this is a bad idea.

It's like providing low cost fire insurance to an arsonist.

Sure, there are only a few arsonists in our society, but why would we want to encourage them by spreading their risk without any investigation?

Shamash said...

Anon 2:35.

I wasn't necessarily AGREEING "that society has a vested interest in healthy babies"...

Because that is likely to put "society" on the hook for a lot of expensive childcare.

I was just putting that premise back out there to show that their conclusion was a non-sequitur.

If I REALLY thought society had a vested interest in healthy babies, I'd probably support euthanasia and sterilization as means to that end, so that we not only had healthy babies, but perhaps even more "socially desirable" babies.

So, let's just say that I DON'T because I don't want to open that can of worms.

But I still think people should be able to get insurance (or not) for pregnancies, just as I think people should be able to get insurance (or not) for just about anything else.

I just think they should pay for it themselves and not get their coverage cheaper by spreading the costs to people who don't want to pay for it or may not need it.

Just like I don't want to have to pay extra insurance for people who sky-dive for a hobby.

CharlotteObserver said...

Thank you for smoking is a great movie.

Shamash said...


A few thousand dollars is NOT a lot for SOME young couples.

Why should they be forced to buy insurance for something they can afford?

Some people actually self-insure.

Companies do that too.

Maybe we should force EVERYONE into the "pool" for ALL kinds of insurance, eh?

Anonymous said...

What does any of this have to do with what Obama said over and over and over and over?

Shamash said...

"What does any of this have to do with what Obama said over and over and over and over?"


Because the people who don't like Obama knew he was lying.

And the people who do like Obama don't care that he was lying.

Anonymous said...

By the logic of the original article (3rd and most important reason: Universal coverage is the only way to make maternity coverage affordable), insurance premiums on everything should remain the same, whether old or young, man or woman, sick or healthy lifestyles (smoking, motorcycle rider, obese, etc.). That includes flood insurance – homeowners on high ground should pay the same for flood insurance as those on the coast.

How about if we worked to lower the cost of healthcare, not pooling everyone together to lower the cost of insurance (thereby increasing everyone’s cost of insurance)?

Do you want your insurance costs to escalate to pay for my coming heart transplant – when you’re young and I’m old? How about if I ate like a pig, drank like a fish, and took illegal drugs for the past 40 years. Is that fair to you?

How about just plain old “personal responsibility”