Senator Kelly Leads Senate to Pass Legislation Enhancing Access to Prenatal Care

June 2, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator and Co-Chairman of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), led the Senate passage of legislation that would improve access to prenatal health care by allowing uninsured pregnant women to enroll in health insurance.

Senate Bill 586 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 within 30 days after the pregnancy is confirmed by a licensed health care provider.

“I am thrilled to report that the State Senate has passed legislation that will enhance access to prenatal care for uninsured pregnant women,” said Sen. Kelly. “According to the CDC, women who don’t receive prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than women who do, and without this essential prenatal care women and their babies can face costly future complications.”

Under federal law, individuals cannot purchase insurance outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period unless they experience a qualifying life event for example – marriage or the birth of a baby. Pregnancy, however, is not currently classified as a qualifying event in Connecticut. The proposed legislation would change this so that expectant mothers would be allowed to enroll in health insurance upon becoming pregnant.

 “At the end of the day this is common sense legislation,” said Sen. Kelly. “If Connecticut can increase access to essential prenatal care and keep mothers and babies healthy, this will continue to translate into better health throughout their entire lives.”

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