Some Democratic lawmakers are urging the Department of Healthand Human Services to allow pregnant women to enroll for health coveragewhenever they want under Obamacare.

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Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, pregnancyis not a qualifying life event that allows open enrollment.

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This week the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and PensionsCommittee Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. — along with 36other senators — sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell urging theagency to address a gap in coverage that, they say, could leavewomen without access to maternity care.

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“Good maternity care is essential for the well-being ofchildren, and studies show that maternal mortality rates are threeto four times higher for women who do not receive prenatal care,”the senators wrote. “Millions of women have benefitted from thisprotection, and we appreciate your leadership in getting thisdone.”

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Although they applauded the “historic progress towards endingdiscrimination of women in the health insurance market” byrequiring health plans to include maternity coverage as anessential health benefit under PPACA, they said not allowing aspecial enrollment period for pregnant women is a big problem.

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“If a woman becomes pregnant at a time outside of the open enrollment period and is uninsured, orenrolled in a grandfathered plan that does not cover maternityservices, then she will not be able to access coverage formaternity care. Without access to maternity care coverage, thesewomen are forced to either forgo this critical care or facesignificant out of pocket costs,” they said.

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Young Invincibles, a national nonprofit that represents 18- to34-year-olds, have also been lobbying to add pregnancy to the listof qualifying life events.

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