Maternity coverage sought for young women on parents’ health insurance

    A national women’s law group wants the Obama Administration to investigate the maternity care insurance policies at several publicly funded employers around the country including the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. At issue is coverage for the dependent daughters of workers.


    The National Women’s Law Center filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. The Affordable Care Act allows young adults up to age 26 to remain covered on their parents’ health plans. The law center wants to make sure dependent daughters get full maternity benefits.

    Women’s health advocate Letty Thall said the complaint is about fairness.

    “I cannot tell you why anyone would want to discriminate against women. All of our body parts should be included in health care,” said Thall, public policy director for the Maternity Care Coalition.

    For Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities the dispute may center on how “maternity care” is defined. Thall defines it this way: “Maternity needs to include pre-natal care, as well as the birthing service as well as post-partum care.”

    The state system clarified its policy in a statement: “Employees may choose one of several plans, including either an HMO or PPO. The HMO plans provide full maternity coverage to covered dependent daughters. The PPO plan provides coverage to dependent daughters for some pre-natal care and testing, as well as coverage for any procedures required as a result of complications resulting from pregnancy.”

    “All of our health care plans that we provide to our employees currently do offer maternity benefits to the dependent daughters of our employees, we have been providing these coverages and we will continue to do so,” said spokesman Kenn Marshall.

    Marshall said the system is ready to demonstrate it is following the law.

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