Sen. Fasano Advocates for Bill to Enhance Access to Prenatal Care

February 27, 2018


Senate Bill 206 Would Allow Pregnant Women to Enroll in Health Insurance Before the Birth of their Child

Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) is joining fellow Connecticut lawmakers who are working to improve access to prenatal health care by allowing uninsured pregnant women to enroll in health insurance.

At a press conference at the Capitol today, Senator Formica stood with fellow lawmakers and advocates for women’s health care to urge support forSenate Bill 206, which would make pregnancy a qualifying life event so that expectant mothers could enroll in health insurance outside of the yearly open enrollment period, instead of being required to wait until their child is born to access insurance. Under the bill, a special enrollment period would be offered to all eligible pregnant individuals within thirty days of a licensed health care provider confirms a pregnancy diagnosis.

“Research has shown that women who do not receive prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than women who do. This bill aims to ensure that all women have access to proper care to protect them and their children. By allowing women to enroll in insurance once they discover that they are expecting, this bill would increase access to quality health care for mom and baby alike, which leads to better health throughout their entire lives,” said Sen. Formica.

Senator Formica supported a similar bill which passed the State Senate with bipartisan support last year, but was met with opposition by the governor. Lawmakers hope this year the bill will pass both chambers with bipartisan support.

Under federal law, the decision to make pregnancy a qualifying life event is one that lies with individual states. While states that participate in the federal health exchange under the Affordable Care Act cannot implement this change to address the gap in coverage, states that operate their own exchanges, like Connecticut, have the flexibility to add pregnancy to its list of qualifying events. New York was the first state to allow pregnant women to purchase insurance under legislation that was passed in 2015.

According to the March of Dimes, premature births and low birthweight babies cost on average 12 times more in health care costs.  The average medical cost for a premature baby is over $55,000, while the average medical cost for a healthy baby is under $5,000. Ensuring that both mom and baby are healthy during pregnancy can not only save lives, but by preventing future complications can prevent added future expenses.

The bill had a public hearing in the Insurance and Real Estate Committee today.