When a new baby is added to the family, there are quite a number of changes, improvements and adjustments that have to be made to make the baby and the mother quite comfortable. One of such things is health insurance coverage for the baby. It actually looks like a simple thing to do, after all the insurance company probably paid for the hospital bills and all related costs but it is not so. There are a lot of things to be done when a new baby is added to the family; let’s discuss some of those things. When you want to get health insurance for your child, there are some vital steps that have to be taken-:

How to Buy Health Insurance for a Child / Baby

1. Consider your Budget-: The first thing you need to do is to review your budget and consider the extra premiums you may need to pay as a result of adding your new child to your existing family insurance coverage. If you feel that your budget cannot accommodate this extra cost, you should start to shop for alternative low-cost health insurance options immediately especially before the child is born because babies usually require a lot of medical attentions when they are born hence, you have to start the process even before the child is born. You would not be allowed to enroll your baby until he/she is born but you can start making enquiries and getting the necessary documents ready, so that there would be no delay when the child is eventually born.

2. Inform your Insurance Provider-: As soon as your child is born, you have a grace period of 31 days to notify your health insurance provider. Failure to do so might mean that you would have to wait till the next open enrollment period and that would also mean that you would be saddled with medical expenses which you would have to bear on your own.

3. Talk to Social Workers-: Social workers are also in a very good position to offer advice and assistance on health insurance for children. If you are confused on the steps to take or if you are a low income earner, try to discuss with the social worker in your hospital for advice and guidance.

  • For Single Parents

If you are a single parent and cannot afford health insurance for your child, you can get assistance from the government by applying for Medicaid for your child. However, it is important to find out whether you meet up with the qualification requirements before you apply. To find out about Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Programs, visit www.healthcare.gov. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you can still get help with your health insurance if you qualify for Tax credits and subsidies. This was brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as Obamacare. If you qualify, the government would contribute some amount of money towards your child health insurance and you would only have to pay a discounted price. However, this can only accessed during open enrolment periods.

  • For Adopted Children

Health insurance providers are stipulated by law to provide health insurance coverage for adopted children under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. There are other federal and state laws that cover this topic and therefore, parents are now allowed to include their adopted children and dependents in their own health insurance plan whether it is employer sponsored or private health insurance.

  • For Parents with Existing Health Insurance

If you already have health insurance and would like to add your baby to your existing plan, then you would have to act fast to avoid losing out on your insurance benefits or getting a penalty especially under the new Obamacare also known as the Affordable Care Act.

The first thing to do is to contact your insurance provider to inform them of the new addition to your family or the health plan officer in your company in case of a work-based health plan. Under the Obamacare act, the birth of a new baby is regarded as a qualifying event and during this period, you are allowed a special enrolment periods in order to make changes to your health insurance coverage. Relocation, marriage or divorces are also regarded as qualifying events.

You must inform the health insurance company and add your baby to your existing plan within 30 days of birth. There are also other forms of health insurance that could be bought for children which include-:

  • Child-only individual Plans-: It is also possible for you to enroll your child in an individual health insurance policy provided the child is under 18. The Obamacare act restricts insurance provider from rejecting applications due to pre-existing conditions but enrolment in child-only insurance policies can only be allowed when a qualifying event occurs or during an open enrolment period. A birth of a child is regarded as a qualifying event but enrolment must be done within 60 days of birth otherwise you would have to wait until there is an open enrolment period.
  • State Sponsored Health Insurance Plan-: If your income is meager such that you cannot afford health insurance coverage for your child on your own, you should consider using government sponsored health insurance plans. However, you may face delay when applying for government sponsored health insurance but you can apply for a temporary coverage or a short-plan to protect you pending the time you get enrolled.
  • Employer-Sponsored Plans-: You can also get your new baby covered under you or your spouse’s employer sponsored health insurance plan if you have one. This is the best type of insurance plan for your child because it is usually more comprehensive than other plans because most employers provide robust health insurance plans for their employees. However, you must ensure that the insurance provider is informed of the new addition within 31 days of the child’s birth because if you miss this, you would need to wait for the next open enrolment period before you can add your child.
Ajaero Tony Martins