A Push To Make Pregnancy A Qualifying Life Event

More than 50 House Democrats are asking the Obama administration to add pregnancy to the limited list of reasons women may enroll year-round in coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.

Once the second, extended enrollment period ends April 30, Americans may only sign up for marketplace coverage if they have experienced a major life event like a divorce or the birth of a child. As things stand now, pregnancy doesn’t qualify as a reason a woman could enroll in coverage outside the official signup season.

Advocates for the health law, led by the group Young Invincibles, have been pushing the administration on that front for the last month, asking it to issue a rule making pregnancy a “qualifying life event.” They’ve convinced House members to join their cause, too, led by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.

“The Affordable Care Act has made historic progress towards ending discrimination against women in the health insurance market by requiring plans to cover maternity care…however, many women are still vulnerable,” says a letter sent Thursday to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell by Coleman and 54 House members.

“Special enrollment periods currently exist for qualifying life events like the birth of a child or the adoption of a child. We believe pregnancy should trigger a similar special enrollment period,” the letter says.

Nearly three dozen health advocacy groups, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,also wrote to Burwell on Thursday asking for the change to be made. Young Invincibles says 50,000 people have signed a petition as well.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary