Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New "pregnancy" insurance

This is a really sensitive topic and I have been giving it some thought before deciding to post - but decided I would as I would like others' views on the subject.

On 9th April 2008, Insurance giant ING launched a new insurance policy to "cover for babies and pregnancy – with the median age of new mums now nearly 31, (up from 27 in 1985), the risk of pregnancy complications and birth defects increases dramatically. For a women aged 35 or more the risk of stillborn is 1 in 440, as opposed to 1 in 1000 for younger women."

What this actually means is, for every birth-defect or stillborn child, you get a payout.

For example: "payouts of up to 50,000 dollars (46,640 US) for babies born with Down's syndrome, spina bifida or a cleft palate ....... a stillborn baby could get a 10,000-dollar payout while women who suffered complications during pregnancy or birth could also be awarded a pay-out."

There has already been some criticism in medical circles:
"This new insurance policy is drawing some criticism with New South Wales Midwives Association because it draws on the fears that pregnant women already have.

"It is making women think about the terrible things that can happen when the reality is there are very few mothers who suffer from complications during pregnancy," secretary Dr Hannah Dahlen told the Sun-Herald. "It is marketing fear and uncertainty when women are vulnerable during pregnancy." "

Whilst other are in praise: "some people will think it's not ethical but the cost of covering for a disability is monstrous and that’s why people will look at this," said Investment and Financial Services Association head Richard Gilbert. "Considering the high costs involved when babies are born with disabilities this insurance program could be a step in the right direction."

Yahoo News: "Mums can insure unborn babies"
Yahoo: "Mums can insure unborn babies in Australia"

My views on this are mixed - finally insurance companies are recognising "real" risks and complications associated with pregnancy; on the other hand ......

The jury's still out on this one.

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