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Infant Health Insurance
Taking care of an infant is a big responsibility, but also will be a very rewarding experience. No matter how careful you are, it is normal for your infant to get ill occasionally. Ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections are all illnesses that infants might experience at one time or another. Infants also need regular check-ups and immunizations from their pediatricians and health insurance for infants should cover these. There is no need for infants to suffer from diseases that were common just a few decades ago.
Why You Need Health Insurance for Your Baby
One of the most common congenital conditions in the United States is hearing loss. Thirty-three infants are born every day with hearing loss. Infants should have a screening to check their hearing to be sure that any loss will be identified as early as possible so treatment can be provided. Check your health insurance policy to see what it says about covering a hearing screening for your infant so that your pediatrician can provide timely and appropriate audiological, educational and medical intervention. There are three basic components (infant hearing screening, audiological diagnosis, and early intervention) in the early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) program.
You can see how important it is to have health insurance to cover these expenses. It can be costly if you have to pay for these screenings yourself and if you do not have health insurance for you child. Some policies will cover only one physical development assessment office visit per year but will cover recommended immunizations and lab tests at 100% with no co-pay, coinsurance or deductibles. Sometimes, infant health insurance services by non-network providers will be covered at 100% of reasonable and customary fees and sometimes they will be covered partially, so be sure to check your policy to see what services by non-network provider are covered and what percentage of the fees is covered.
Getting the Health Insurance Your Infant Needs
Knowing about health insurance for infants before your baby gets sick will give you peace of mind. Your pediatrician should see your infant within a few days after birth and then on a regular schedule starting at one month of age. If you do not have your own pediatrician, it is important to get one and to schedule an office visit for a checkup as soon as possible. Do not forget to bring your infant's medical records with you. Your pediatrician will need them.
You should read all of the provisions of your health insurance policy. A job-related health insurance plan should provide good quality coverage for your infant at a reasonable cost. Your premiums and costs such as co-payments will probably increase after you add your infant to your health insurance plan but it will be worth the expense to have the coverage.
Many health plans have rules about which doctors you can visit, so it is important to know if your doctor is on the approved list of providers. You may be limited to choosing a pediatrician from the list. You may even need to have your selection approved by your health insurance company in advance. Finding the right policy to match your needs and those of your family members will result in the best possible infant medical insurance benefits.
Do not forget to ask if there is a deductible. A deductible is the initial portion of a covered expense that must be paid before the insurance policy pays its part of the expense. (For example, if the deductible is $100, then you must pay the first $100 of the covered medical costs before the insurance will pay anything.) Answers to questions like this will help determine the amount of expenses you will have to pay yourself. You may even decide 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-infant care.
If you do not have infant health insurance, you should keep in mind that the cheapest insurance policy might not always be the best policy for your baby. The quality of health insurance benefits will vary depending on the policy. It is always important to make informed decisions. If you cannot afford coverage, you may be eligible for Medicaid or for the Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) plan that you can purchase or that is free for your infant.
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