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Baby Health Insurance
Having a baby is a very big event for you and your family (and a big responsibility.) Your baby's health depends on you and baby will get sick sometimes. Ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections are all illnesses that babies might experience. Even a minor diaper rash can be exasperating. Babies also need to get regular check-ups and vaccinations to remain healthy, so you should have baby health insurance because medical care can become costly if you have to pay the bills yourself without health insurance for your baby.
Knowing what you are going to do about health insurance for your baby before your baby's birth will save time and give you peace of mind. If you have your baby at a hospital where your pediatrician usually sees patients, the doctor should see the baby right away after the delivery. It would be good to have a pediatrician on the hospital staff see your baby right after birth if you do not have your own pediatrician already. Then you can call your own pediatrician, if you have one, to schedule a visit a few days after birth. Do not forget to ask for your baby's medical records before you leave the hospital. Your pediatrician will need them.
Getting Baby Health Insurance
You should contact your insurance company and give them information so you can have the baby added to your health insurance policy (usually within 30 days.) Adding your baby to your job-related health insurance plan or your own individual plan is usually not a problem. You can ask your employer or insurer what you need to do to make sure your baby is covered from birth. A job-related health insurance plan is often best because these plans usually provide quality coverage at a lower cost. You can expect your increased premiums and costs (such as co-payments) that you will need to pay after adding your baby to any health insurance plan.
Are there any deductibles? Answers to questions like this can help determine the amount of expenses you will have to pay yourself. Sometimes it may be a good idea to reconsider your health plan. When you have the opportunity (perhaps during an open enrollment period), you may want to change to a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO) that covers all well-baby care.
Choosing a Doctor for Your Baby
One of the most important things you need to do before your baby arrives is to decide on a doctor for your baby. Waiting until after your baby is born is not a good idea; planning is much better. Surely, it is best to find a doctor you trust and like.
Most health insurance for babies has rules about which doctors you can visit, so it is important to know if the doctor you choose also determines which specialists and which hospitals you will be able to use if your baby needs specialized care. Sometimes, the health insurance company has rules that link these together. Check the rules of your insurance policy prior to choosing your baby's doctor. You may be limited to choosing a pediatrician from a list of providers that your health insurance company will give you. You may even need to have your selection approved by your health insurance company in advance.
Some things to consider when choosing a doctor for your baby:
- Contact your health insurance company and ask them to give you a list of baby doctors covered under your plan.
- Know what the doctor's office hours are and how they would handle your concerns and emergencies after hours.
- Talk with other parents and friends you know and ask them if they know a pediatrician they would be able to recommend.
- You can even ask to meet with a few of the baby doctors to help you make your decision. Be sure to write down your questions and, when you call to make an appointment with the doctor, ask to plan for the time to have your questions answered.
- You should be able to find out where the doctor went to medical school and how long they have been in practicing medicine. Some insurance companies and hospitals have this information. Details on some doctors are available by clicking on the DoctorFinder (American Medical Association)
Finding Affordable Baby Health Insurance
Finding the right policy to match your needs and those of your family members will result in the best possible health insurance benefits for your baby. If you do not have health coverage, you should keep in mind that the cheapest health insurance policy might not always be the best policy for your baby. The quality of your benefits will vary depending on the policy. It is also important to know what the policy covers so you can make an informed decision.
If you are worried that you will not be able to afford baby health insurance coverage, help might be easier to find than you think. There are programs for women, children and families in need. You may be eligible for Medicaid or for the State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plan that you can purchase or that is free for your baby. Each state has its own insurance site. For more information about health insurance for babies, you can also contact your local health department.
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