Pregnancy and Healthcare
As long as a pregnant woman is able to perform the major functions of her job, not hiring or firing her because she is pregnant is against the law. It's against the law to dock her pay or demote her to a lesser position because of pregnancy. It's also against the law to hold back benefits for pregnancy because a woman is not married. All are forms of pregnancy discrimination, and all are illegal.
Women are protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It says that businesses with at least 15 employees must treat women who are pregnant in the same manner as other job applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.
The Family and Medical Leave Act also protects the jobs of workers who are employed by companies with 50 employees or more and who have worked for the company for at least 12 months. These companies must allow employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons, including pregnancy and childbirth. Your job cannot be given away during this 12-week period.
Many state laws also protect pregnant women's rights.
These laws appear clear-cut. But issues that arise on the job seldom are. Go to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website to learn more about your rights during pregnancy and what to do if you think your rights have been violated.
Can a health plan refuse to let me enroll because I'm pregnant?
No. In the past, insurance companies could turn you down if you applied for coverage while you were pregnant. At that time, many health plans considered pregnancy a pre-existing condition.
Health plans can no longer deny you coverage if you are pregnant. That's true whether you get insurance through your employer or buy it on your own.
What's more, health plans cannot charge you more to have a policy because you are pregnant. An insurance company can't increase your premium based on your sex or health condition. A premium is the amount you pay each month to have insurance.
How can I get health insurance while I'm pregnant?
First, see if your employer—or your partner’s employer—offers health insurance. You will probably get the most coverage at the best price from a health plan offered by an employer. That's partly because most employers share the cost of insurance premiums with employees.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employer that allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave or leave without pay must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same.
An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work. However, if an employer requires its employees to submit a doctor's statement concerning their ability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions to submit such statements.
Further, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid if the employee has earned or accrued it) that may be used for care of the new child. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months prior to taking the leave and the employer must have a specified number of employees. See Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act.