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    Maternity Gap in High-Deductible Plans

    Childbirth and Pregnancy Often Uncovered in Plans

    Lower Premiums

    Health insurers promote consumer-directed plans as a good alternative to expensive group coverage. Tom Wilder, vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an industry lobbying group, says the lower up-front offered by the plans give many Americans access to coverage they otherwise couldn’t afford.

    One industry study shows that premiums for some consumer-directed plans are nearly 40% lower than other employer-sponsored group coverage. “That’s less of a cost that you’re going to have coming out of your pay check,” Wilder says.

    The Fine Print

    But Mila Kofman, the study’s other author, warns insurance shoppers that figuring out which costs are covered and which are not can be exceedingly difficult.

    “The summaries of the policies [examined by researchers] did not accurately reflect what was covered and what was not covered,” she says. As for reading the entire policy, “they’re not written in English,” Kofman says of the legal language.

    Experts Tuesday recommended young families considering consumer-directed plans to ask marketers a lot of detailed questions about what maternity costs -- if any -- are covered.

    “If you’re going to go there, you need to go there with your eyes open and realize you could be spending a lot,” Salganicoff says.

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