Senator Boucher Votes to Enhance Access to Prenatal Care

June 4, 2017

Hartford –State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) this week voted in favor of legislation to make pregnancy a qualifying event for women in need of health insurance. By allowing uninsured women to obtain health coverage when they discover they are pregnant, the bill improves access to important prenatal care for the expectant mother and her child.

Senate Bill 586 received unanimous approval in the Senate. If signed into law, it would create a special insurance enrollment period so uninsured expectant mothers would not have to wait until their child is born to access insurance. Once a health care professional confirms a pregnancy, the woman would have 30 days to purchase insurance privately or through the state exchange.

“Health care during pregnancy is crucial to the health of both child and mother,” Sen. Boucher said. “Regular prenatal visits monitor the development of the baby and the impact pregnancy has on the woman, because as far as we have come in the medical world, some women still die giving birth. Prenatal care finds problems sooner and addresses them sooner. Doctors and hospitals can be prepared for complications which can improve the overall birth experience and health of the newborn child and moth.”

Federal law restricts the purchase of insurance outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period, unless there is a qualifying life event like marriage or the birth of a baby. Pregnancy is not a qualifying event in Connecticut, but the proposed legislation would change that.

Sen. Boucher said the legislation also makes sense from a cost standpoint. A pregnancy that is not monitored by health care professionals can have costly complications for the mother and child because of a lack of preventative care.

“Mothers who don’t receive prenatal care are more likely to have low birth-weight babies that may need longer hospital stays,” she said. “Without insurance, a mother may not be able to pay her hospital bills leading the costs to be passed on to other patients.

“Besides, shouldn’t every child have a chance to get the most out of their life? What better way to provide that chance than with a healthy start?” she said.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for final passage.

Senator Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.