U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are calling on California's health insurance marketplace, Covered California, to allow women to sign up for coverage when they become pregnant.
Under the current rules of the Affordable Care Act, uninsured women who discover they're pregnant outside of open enrollment periods can only sign up for coverage once the baby is born. The senators sent a letter to Covered California on Wednesday urging the agency to change the policy to make pregnancy a “qualifying life event” that allows women to enroll in coverage at that time.
“Allowing women to purchase health insurance during pregnancy will increase access to care and has the potential to improve health, save lives, and reduce future health costs,” the senators wrote.
The letter comes a week after a group of Democratic senators called on federal health officials to change the rule at the national level. More than 50 members of the House of Representatives are expected to deliver a similar letter on Thursday.
Christina Postolowski, health policy manager at Young Invincibles, an advocacy group pushing for the new policy, says a change in California could lead the way for the rest of the country.