Sen. Somers Stands in Support of Increasing 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 

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator and Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, Heather Somers (R-Groton), stood with fellow lawmakers and women’s health care advocates in support of a bill that will help improve access to prenatal health care by allowing uninsured pregnant women to enroll in health insurance.

Senate Bill 206 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 verification by a licensed health care provider.

“This bill is common-sense legislation,” said Sen. Somers. “An open enrollment period is established once a child is born, but the facts are that infant health care starts before that. Additionally, many complications that arise during pregnancy are often preventable and treatable, and with the right care we will be able to address these complications before they become worse.”

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.

“We have a chance this legislative session to send a message and that message should be that Connecticut cares about pregnant women and their unborn babies,” said Sen. Somers. “Working together we can increase access to prenatal care and keep mothers and babies healthy which will help to create better health outcomes for the remainder of their lives. No child should endure future challenges because of what boils down to an administration timeline to sign up for health insurance. I fully support this legislation and will continue to advocate for it until it reaches the governor’s desk for his signature.”