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1. Using out-of-network doctors when delivering your baby. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) typically pay only a small percentage of bills from out-of-network doctors.

2. Failing to quickly add your newborn to your health insurance policy. Many health insurance plans give you only 30 days to add your newborn. If you miss this window, you’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment period and your baby will go uninsured until then.

3. Failing to understand what your health insurance policy covers. Does your plan cover well-baby care? Immunizations? Know what your policy pays for before you visit the doctor.

4. Confusing eligibility rules for dependents with those for you. If your daughter is on your plan and is pregnant, her maternity costs may be covered but her newborn won’t be. You will not be able to add your daughter’s baby to your health plan.

5. Neglecting to buy life insurance. Your new dependent relies on your income. Life insurance provides replacement of your income if you die, ensuring that your family can continue to pay debts and expenses. The U.S. still has one of the highest maternal death rates among developed countries; as morbid as it is, you should plan ahead to ensure your baby is taken care of in worst-case scenarios.

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Penny Gusner


Penny is an expert on insurance procedures, rates, policies and claims. She has extensive knowledge of all major insurance lines -- auto, homeowners, life and health insurance. She has been answering consumers’ questions as an analyst for more than 15 years and has been featured in numerous major media outlets, including the Washington Post and Kiplinger’s.