Children are expensive. They are expensive to clothe, feed, and educate. But they are also expensive because of the time that they require — beginning with their birth. Many parents find that the time required to care for babies after birth is a costly burden that they cannot afford. Ordinarily, short-term disability insurance policies exclude maternity, but you do have choices. Here are some of the options:
A few states require employers to provide short-term disability insurance: Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico. In addition, California requires employers to pay up to 55% of the employee’s gross salary in lieu of short term disability insurance for up to 52 weeks. In New York, employers are expected to pay up to 50% of the employee’s salary for 26 weeks. In New Jersey, claimants are entitled to 26 weeks of benefits consisting of two-thirds of their salary. Hawaii’s short term disability plan pays 58% of the employee’s salary for up to 26 weeks and claimants from Rhode Island are eligible to receive benefits based on a percentage of their quarterly earnings over the base period. If you live in one of these states, count yourself lucky.
AFLAC is a supplemental insurance provider. It is not designed to replace any of the main types of insurance (such as life insurance, health insurance, long-term disability insurance, or short-term disability insurance). Instead, they aim to provide additional benefits that lessen the burdens caused by events that trigger benefits from those other insurances. AFLAC’s maternity policy has a none-month qualifying period before one can make a maternity or paternity claim. They offer several different policies, depending on the level of coverage you want. AFLAC premiums are paid with post-tax dollars and therefore the benefits are tax-free.
Some short-term disability insurance policies will cover maternity. Often, the insurer will be very strict regarding how long you can receive benefits while you are out of work due to maternity. Some such policies have a waiting period, covering maternity only if you have been insured for some period of time. Often, this falls under the “preexisting conditions” clause, so look there carefully.
Short-term disability policies will generally cover from six to eight weeks of leave for a vaginal delivery and up to twelve weeks of leave for a c-section.
Given the limited choices available, if you are able it is prudent to set aside some money each month before the baby is born to save up your own “insurance” fund.