Baby health insurance can be tricky if you haven’t done your research. When you have a new baby, you do have some time to buy the right insurance plan. If you have a comprehensive coverage, your newborn receives automatic coverage for a month or two depending on your provider. After this period, you need to apply for health insurance for baby only or include your child in your plan.
But this 30-day or 60-day grace period is not offered by all health policies. So, ensure that you know the details when you are planning your pregnancy or before your child is born.
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Adding your child to your plan
You can simply call your insurance provider and ask them to add your newborn to your plan. You need not buy a separate newborn baby health insurance policy. If your employer provides you insurance then you need to add your baby to your plan through your company’s HR department. During this time, you can also ask them to provide you details about added costs, deductibles and other variables. For marketplace plans, you don’t need to provide your child’s medical history for insurance. Even if your child has any medical problem, the insurance will cover all of it. Benefits will also start without delay. But if you are on limited-benefit policy, you will need to re-submit an application to add your child to your plan. In this case, benefits will be delayed.
Most policies remain affordable for at least two dependents in your existing plan. Even then the cost of baby health insurance is not very high. The subsidy you can get can be more than the cost of a new dependent in your policy. Not buying a policy can lead to you paying penalties and putting you and your child at risk. But ensure that you find out any lapses in your benefits or additional costs beforehand. You can also check if you want a baby life insurance policy also along with a health plan.
Recommended Read: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Buy a new plan
You can also buy a new plan for yourself and add your newborn to it as a dependent. Giving birth is considered a special event, and insurance firms may offer you an option to switch plans if you so desire. It can be a good idea to look into this option, especially if you are unhappy with your existing plan. You can also compare costs of a new plan versus your existing plan in terms of adding a child to it.
Recommended Read: Types of Health Insurance Plans
Buying a separate insurance policy for your kid
Not every insurance company offers child-only plans. Every state has different conditions and periods for open enrollment. So, make sure you have called your state’s agency in advance and collected the necessary information. Some states offer child-only coverage all year round without restrictions. CHIP or ‘Children’s Health Insurance Program’ is especially useful for kids whose parents don’t qualify for Medicaid. CHIP covers routine medical visits, vaccinations, emergency services, dental checkups, eye care, hospitalization, diagnostic tests and more. Some services are free of charges; others require copayments depending on state laws.
If you are in the country on a work or study visa, your private policy won’t cover your baby if he or she is born in the US. You will need to apply for a domestic policy as your baby is considered citizen of the country.
Only you can decide what insurance option you want to go for. But whatever option you pick, it’s crucial that you cover your newborn child under an insurance policy, so that you can easily afford to cater to his/her medical needs.