1. What does the health insurance cover?
First, find out what the out-of-pocket costs are for both a routine (vaginal) and cesarean birth. Then, find out what kinds of critical health services are covered, including mental health and chronic conditions specific to people who have given birth throughout the span of your life. Ideally, your health insurance plan will be comprehensive and include coverage for pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care without high deductibles, co-pays, or out-of-pocket costs. Your plan should also cover crucial mental health services, substance-use disorders, and a range of treatment options for chronic conditions. Also review health care coverage for dependents (your children) — both routine care and unexpected health conditions.
2. Is parental leave paid, and for how long?
Many employers are required to provide FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), which means that you can take time off for pregnancy and birth and still have a job to come back to, but it does not mean you will be paid during that time off. Paid parental leave is time off during pregnancy and/or postpartum with pay. Paid leave benefits families by improving health outcomes and companies by increasing performance and productivity, and reducing turnover. Without paid leave, people take off less time from work despite health issues that would be better for it.
3. How does your workplace support you during pregnancy, as a new parent, and beyond?
If you want to know the real answer to this question, talk to other employees who’ve experienced becoming a parent while working for your company, if possible. Talk to your employer about designated breaks for breastfeeding/body feeding and pumping, flexibility for health care (including mental health) appointments (yours and your child’s) and childcare/caregiver issues, and flexible working hours arrangements, including working from home routinely or periodically. Some employers also offer onsite subsidized childcare.
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