If you’re one of the thousands of expats who’ve started or will be starting a family in Vietnam or SE Asia, then you’ve come to the right place for the all important topic of expat maternity insurance.
If you’re at all considering adding someone to your family in the next few years, then the time to consider your expat maternity insurance options is now.
In reality there are many unplanned pregnancies or couples who don’t consider insurance implications until it’s too late, which exposes their family to financial risk.
Whether you’ll be a first time parent or you’re adding another pup to you wolfpack, there are many things to consider. In this article we’ll go over:
- Waiting periods & conception date
- Overview of expat maternity insurance benefits
- Sample benefits table
- How employers & providers handle expat maternity insurance
- Your child’s plan; benefits & start date
- How to add a newborn to your plan
- Cost to add a child
- Ways to save money & family discounts
- Insurance if you’re already pregnant
- Child-only policies
Waiting Periods & conception date
All Vietnamese insurers will have a 1-year waiting period. International insurers will either have a 10-month or 1-year waiting period. That means that in the waiting period, no maternity related benefits are payable. This does not mean you cannot conceive in this time, just no benefits are payable.
After you’ve reached your waiting period, then maternity benefits become eligible for coverage. So you may have to renew your plan before the maternity benefits become eligible.
If you do conceive during your waiting period, you just need to be aware of the timing of everything. It’s safer to wait until as close to your waiting period is over as possible as that limits the period in which complications & pre-natal checks would be excluded.
Depending on your provider, complications of pregnancy may not have a waiting period (if you’re not pregnant at the time of joining).
Warning, many Vietnamese insurance sales agents present this as a 3-month waiting period. What they mean is you would need to wait at least 3-months to conceive. We’ve had to correct many Vietnamese sales reps on their own company’s rules.
Explanation of Maternity Benefits
- Routine Delivery* – costs of a normal uncomplicated birth, including pre & post natal visits, hospitalization expenses, doctors’ fees & other related expenses.
- Complications* – costs to take care of the mother for a complicated birth, for example:
- Newborn Care* – Your plan may have a newborn care benefit, this would be the amount of coverage the child has on your plan, without having to take out a plan for the child. This is usually $X amount in the first Y days of life. For example, $100,000 in the first 30 days of life.
*The exact benefits may differ by provider, the above is used as an illustration of common benefits.
Here’s a look of how three sample providers may arrange their benefits:
Like in the table, it’s very common for Vietnamese providers to group routine delivery & complications benefit into the same maximum. This limits their exposure & allows them to offer more attractive premiums. Whereas international providers tend to split them with full coverage for complications, which is the benefit that can drive very high claims.
How providers handle maternity
Providers will either have maternity as part of their core benefits OR it’s an add-on benefit. If it’s part of the core benefits, then it may only be available for certain plans & you may need to upgrade your plan to a higher level to have maternity.
If your provider has a maternity add-on, then you’ll need to include that when you’re starting your plan or add it on to your plan at your renewal.
Please keep in mind, you can only add maternity on or upgrade your plan at your current renewal date. You cannot make changes to your policy mid year.
How employers handle maternity
If you’re an expat who’s insured through your company, then there’s a good chance that your employer either 1) Doesn’t offer maternity insurance 2) Offers low benefit levels
Adding comprehensive maternity coverage is very expensive, so to save costs on annual premiums, most companies who insure expats either leave it off or offer a very limited benefit.
So even if you do have some coverage for maternity, you’ll want to check your maximum limits for routine delivery & complications. You’d also want to check when the baby is covered from & whether any congenital conditions are covered.
Your child’s plan
Keep in mind that whatever plan you have is what your child will take if you add him/her to your plan. So if you want your child to have outpatient insurance, then you need to make sure your plan that has outpatient insurance.
Most providers do not allow children to have higher levels of coverage than the parent. You would not be allowed to take an inpatient plan for yourself & then when your child is born have them on an inpatient & outpatient plan.
When newborn coverage begins
With most international providers, the baby is covered from the date of birth. With most Vietnamese insurers, the baby can only be added to the plan after X number of days. For providers who only cover after X number of days (15-60 days), there are exclusions for congenital conditions. Again, this is a way to limit their exposure & offer more attractive premiums.
How to add your child to the plan
With international insurers, you usually have 30 days to add your child to your plan without underwriting. To do this, you usually need a birth certificate and sometimes a discharge notice.
If your child has to go through underwriting, then you fill out an application form with the medical questionnaire.
Cost to add child
After you have your child, there will be an associated cost to add that child to your plan. This is usually a prorated amount until the end date of your policy. All providers charge different amounts for children, so when you look at prices, you also should think about how much will it cost me to add your child to the policy.
Some providers offer free coverage for second child or discounted rates for having more than one child in a plan.
Ways to save money
- Split plans – it may not always make sense for everyone in your family to have the same plan. You can split plan levels by person, depending on their needs, your budget & how your provider handles maternity.
- Multiple children discounts – If you already have one child & are adding another or if you plan on having 2+ children, then some providers offer free insurance or heavily discounted insurance for having 2+ children in plan.
- You can downgrade your plan or remove the maternity add-on at renewal period if it’s not longer needed.
If you want to upgrade your plan to a higher level to get better maternity benefits, then a new waiting period will apply.
If you’re already pregnant
If you’re already pregnant, then unfortunately you’ll not be able to have the routine delivery benefits or complications covered. At this point, you can still take out plans which:
- Cover your child from the day it’s born
- Cover your child for congenital conditions
If you’re already insured, you may want to check if your plan includes any kind of maternity benefits. Some providers cover complications as part of the core plan.
There are options where you can take out a policy on your child alone. This is done after the child is born. Many parents do this:
- If they are already insured through work, but their child isn’t
- If they want their child to have inpatient & outpatient benefits, but they only want inpatient benefits
- If they’re trying to save money & just want to insure their kid
Other things to consider
- Where you’re having the baby at – do you benefits cover the costs of routine birth for where you want to have your baby at? If you’re having the child abroad, there will be flight restrictions after a certain date.
- Direct Billing – Does your provider offer direct billing for where you’re having your baby at?
- Co-pays, Excesses – cheaper Vietnamese providers may have a co-pay for maternity expenses or could have a co-pay for any claim for your child.
Premiums & Quotes
Premiums will ultimately depend on a variety of factors including age, number of children, provider, plan, etc.
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