Group health insurance plans require you to add a baby within 30 days or 60 days after a baby is born. Having a child is considered a qualifying life event that starts a special enrollment period. The period’s length varies by employer.
During that special enrollment period, you can make changes to your health insurance, including adding a new baby to the health coverage. You can even enroll in a different health plan. Your health insurance company will likely request the child’s birth certificate to create the special enrollment period.
If you miss the deadline for special enrollment, new parents may have to wait until the next open enrollment period to add a newborn to health insurance.
Before the child arrives, it’s wise to contact your employer’s health plan administrator to learn how and when to add your infant to the plan. Knowing those details ahead of time will make the process easier once the baby has arrived.
In addition, check the health insurance coverage for the types of health services it covers for children. Some questions to ask your health insurance company or employer:
- How much more does the health insurance plan cost when you add the child?
- Does the plan cover immunizations and well-baby visits?
- How much are copayments and what is the deductible?
During the special enrollment period, you may also be able to switch health insurance companies and plans. Use the period as a chance to analyze your family’s health insurance needs. You may have been fine with your existing plan when it was just you, but now with a new child you may find a different plan is a better fit.
When reviewing health plans, consult a list of local pediatricians who are part of the plan’s network to begin searching for a doctor. You want to find a doctor on your health insurance plan’s network. If not, you may wind up paying more for care. In fact, if you have an health maintenance organization (HMO) plan, you may pay all of the costs to visits to doctors considered outside of the plan’s network.
The Affordable Care requires pregnancy and pediatrics as essential health benefits, which means health insurance plans should cover that health care. However, some health plans not governed by the Affordable Care Act, like short-term health insurance, don’t have to cover pregnancy or child care.
Other insurance needs change, too. Do you have life insurance? Your little one will depend on your income. Life insurance provides money for your family to continue to pay expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, as well as school tuition in later years, if you die.
Term life provides coverage if you die within a certain period, such as 10, 15 or 20 years. Permanent insurance provides coverage for your entire lifetime as well, as a cash account that accumulates over time. Term life is less expensive than permanent insurance because the benefits are less rich.
Which type of life insurance to choose depends entirely on your situation. To get started, use Insure.com’s life insurance calculator, which analyzes your needs and recommends term or permanent insurance or both and the amount of insurance to buy.