I also live in South Florida so I know exactly what you mean.
We don’t have a “maternity rider” but can use short term disability, which sounds very similar. Basically, my timeline was as follows: My health insurance enrollment comes up every January. At that point, you are eligible to switch plans, add/drop extras, such as short-term disability. So last January, I signed up for short-term disability. The catch is that your policy must be in effect BEFORE you get pregnant… and it takes 3-4 months for your policy to kick in. So in my case, my policy did not kick in until APRIL. Even though I signed up for s-t disability in January, had I gotten pregnant in Feb/March/April, it would not have covered my pregnancy.
I’m not sure if it’s Florida law, or what, but it is definitely screwy!
However, earlier this year, my hubby and I were just starting to talk about getting pregnant. I decided to sign up for it, JUST IN CASE we decided to get pregnant this year. I priced it out, and paying a couple hundred bucks for the year was worth all of the coverage I would get if we DID have a baby.
As it turns out, the hubs and I are thinking about ttc early next year. So in our case, it’s actually good that I signed up this year. Otherwise, if I signed up next year, we’d have to wait until after April to even start trying, just to make sure we got the coverage before getting pregnant. Now, if we feel like trying in Feb or March, we can, and we will be covered (because I will already be approved so my policy will automatically continue when I renew in January).
It’s definitely confusing… but you should do out the math and decide what is financially reasonable. For me, I would get 60% of my salary for 6 weeks. That is worth a couple hundred bucks for the year! But try to determine how much money the maternity rider would cost you, as well as how much money you would lose out on if you got pregnant and didn’t have the coverage.