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WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America expressed disappointment today after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) denied calls from members of Congress and advocacy groups including Planned Parenthood, Young Invincibles, March of Dimes, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to create a special enrollment period for women who become pregnant to sign up for affordable quality health coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Department of Health and Human Services will not establish a special enrollment period for pregnant women. Pregnancy is a life-changing event when access to affordable health coverage is incredibly important. Unfortunately, HHS has said today that these women will not be able to sign up for and access vital coverage year round.

“As the leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood sees the benefits that expanded access to health care has for women and their families. We will continue to work with policy makers to ensure pregnant women get the coverage they need. No pregnant woman should have to worry about enrollment dates and blackout periods.” 


  • Certain life events allow people to enroll in health coverage in the Marketplace at anytime during the year — including giving birth or adopting a child — but pregnancy is not one of them.
  • Because of this, some pregnant women may not have access to important health care, including maternity care — or may face substantial medical costs, even if their pregnancy is without complications. 
  • The average hospital bill for delivery without complications is more than $23,000.
  • Prenatal care can help keep women and their babies healthy. Babies of women who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.
  • A special enrollment period is especially important for young adults — the group that is at high risk for unintended pregnancies and also targeted for enrollment in catastrophic coverage, which often has more costly deductibles.
  • In fact, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, women ages 20 to 24 have the highest unintended pregnancy rate among any age group — nearly two-thirds of pregnancies are unintended.
  • Under Obamacare, nearly 12 million people have health coverage who didn’t have it before.  That’s amazing progress.  Making sure pregnancy is treated the same as other major life events when it comes to getting coverage is a critical step to ensuring women have access to the care they need.


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Planned Parenthood Federation of America


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April 10, 2015