By Linda Williams
When you or your spouse gives birth to a brand-new baby, your child’s health and safety become your utmost priority. While juggling your newfound responsibilities as a parent to a newborn, i.e., changing diapers, preparing bottles, you’ll need to determine the right time to add your baby to your health insurance policy. If this is your first child, you may not be familiar with the process of adding your newborn to your insurance policy.
The most straightforward way is to call your insurance provider to request further instructions. When it comes to your baby’s well-being, you won’t want to slip-up and inadvertently expose your child to danger. If you’ve purchased a comprehensive health plan, your insurance provider will cover your baby from his or her date of birth.
However, this arrangement will call for a window period of 30 – 60 days based on your coverage plan. Although having an infant is a qualifying event, remember that you must formally notify your insurance company of the birth as soon as possible before you can access all the insurance benefits available for your child.
Immediately alerting your provider is also an excellent way to avoid potential penalties that fall under the Affordable Care Act’s jurisdiction. If you’re a new parent and wondering when to add your baby to your insurance policy, read on for more information on how to streamline the process.
Change your healthcare plan
Having a baby is a qualifying event that allows you to switch plans. Examine your current health plan and assess whether your healthcare plan of choice caters to the baby’s needs. For a thorough analysis, a policyholder can compare other on-the-market plans using resources like AHiX Marketplace. From there, you can sign up for coverage best suited to your needs as a family composed of new parents and a fresh newborn.
Perhaps you don’t like your current plan and intend to switch to a better policy. When consulting with the Human Resource department at your place of employment, you’ll find that adding dependents to your employer-provided health insurance plan can be very expensive.
Regardless of your situation, it’s always wise to consider more inclusive health policy in preparation for the worst-case scenario, such as unforeseen injuries, car accidents, natural disasters that wreak havoc on your child’s health, etc.
While finding the right plan can sometimes be overwhelming and time-consuming, it’s essential to consider critical factors such as your income, the cost of living in your area, and lifestyle needs before purchasing a health insurance plan.
Add your baby to your existing health plan
If you’re satisfied with your current health insurance plan, you can include your newborn as part of your existing coverage. Ensure you contact your carrier as soon as possible and have the baby’s social security number and birth certificate ready.
The Senior Health Policy Analyst at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families, Joseph Touschner, says parents need to inform their carriers of their child’s birth date before receiving healthcare benefits. Unfortunately, this additional coverage will not kick-in automatically.
To trigger this health insurance coverage, contact the responsible department at your workplace, inform your carrier directly, or add your child via your Obamacare health insurance service.
Above all, you’ll want to remember that time is of the essence. Though seemingly impossible, try not to get caught up in the hectic days and sleepless nights following your child’s birth. Take the necessary steps to insure your newborn baby. Remember that most insurance providers allow parents to add their newborns within the first 30 days from birth. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, enrolling your child within the recommended time frame should offer coverage retroactively up to the delivery date.
Including your child in an exchange plan
Typically, you have up to 60 days to add your newborn to a plan acquired via a health exchange. However, experts recommend that you act promptly to obtain a new health plan that meets your family’s evolving needs. The federal health exchange guidelines apply to most states, which sometimes make the process challenging. Being responsive and proactive is vital both in parenthood and in the case of health-insurance-related matters.
Benefits and potential penalties
Recent healthcare reforms require that small-group and individual plans within or outside the Obamacare health insurance marketplace should cover the recommended essential health benefits such as newborn, pediatric, and even maternity care.
Most of these plans must cater for preventive care for children at no extra cost to the family. This care may include behavioral assessments, hearing screenings, immunizations, and other health care services. While the Affordable Care Act offers several benefits, it also issues penalties if you fail to enroll your child for health insurance within the allotted window. For example, providers will force you to pay for medical expenses out-of-pocket if a deadline lapses, resulting in piling medical bills.
If you choose the Obamacare plan, you must comply with all its provisions or risk losing money due to penalty fees and unplanned out-of-pocket medical expenses. Worse, these penalties usually rise with time, leading to debilitating financial crises.
Experts suggest that the key to ensuring your child enjoys good health and high quality of life is comprehensive health insurance. Without coverage, your growing child may have to skip vital check-ups and vaccinations in the interest of financial stability. Protect your finances from undue devastation, and add your baby to your health insurance policy as soon as possible.