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Infant Mortality

Why should a childless man have to buy maternity coverage?

Q. I'm a middle-aged man with no intention of having children. Why should I have to pay for maternity or pediatric dental coverage?A. I've been getting this question a lot (most recently from Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a recent appearance on his weekly program). It refers to the fact that as of 2014, all individual and small group insurance plans sold in the U.S. must cover those services as "essential health benefits." Here's why.  Health insurance, like all insurance, works by pooling risks. The healthy subsidize the sick, who could be somebody else this year and you next year. Those risks include any kind of health care a person might need from birth to death—prenatal care through hospice. No individual is likely to need all of it, but we will all need some of it eventually.So, as a middle-aged childless man you resent having to pay for maternity care or kids' dental care. Shouldn't turnabout be fair play? Shouldn't pregnant women and kids be able to say, "Fine, but in that case why sh...

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