I was just in Chicago last week for the amazing experience of watching my first nephew’s birth. Being in the delivery room with my sister and watching her take the baby home a couple days later was simply incredible. All the same, it reminded me of a costly mistake too many new mothers make: forgetting to enroll their babies on their health insurance plans.
In general, a newborn is only automatically covered by your health insurance for the first 30 days of his or her life. In between adjusting to your new feeding, sleeping, and diaper schedule, you must to enroll your newborn in order to receive insurance coverage. If you have a group health plan through your employer, this is called a “qualified change in family status”—and you must make a change within 30 days of the “qualified event”! In this case, that’s your baby’s birth. Contact your HR department or benefits administrator to make the change. If you don’t enroll your baby, you may be responsible for his or her full medical costs—which could be thousands of dollars in a year.
If you have your own health insurance, contact your plan directly.
If your baby is already older than a month and you haven’t enrolled him or her, contact your plan or your employer immediately. For a group plan through your employer, you may have to wait until the next open enrollment period to add your baby to your plan. In this case, you’ll likely want to get individual coverage for your baby or look into options through your state so you’re not stuck with the full cost of medical care.