Adding a new baby to the family is such a joyous event, that you might forget to take care of the business end. Yes, there is a “business end” to expanding your family! Whether you’re giving birth, adopting, or fostering a child, you will have to jump through a few hoops. And depending upon your exact situation, you might feel buried in paperwork pretty quickly.
When it comes to your health insurance policy, though, the process is really quite straightforward. Here’s what you need to know:
Adding a child to your household qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. Normally, you can’t select or make changes to a health insurance policy outside of the Open Enrollment period that operates each fall. But when you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can choose a new plan or make changes to an existing plan.
If you already have a family healthcare plan, all you have to do is add your new child to the policy. Coverage will be effective from the day your child was born (if you’re giving birth) or officially adopted. You can do this by calling your current healthcare plan provider and notifying them of the change.
If you have an individual healthcare plan, you will need to switch over to a family plan if you want to cover your new child with health insurance. You can do this during the Special Enrollment Period.
If you don’t have health insurance, you can still qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Perhaps now that you’re a parent, health insurance has moved up on your priorities list.
Your subsidy might change. When you add a child to your health insurance plan, your household size will also increase. Since this is one of the factors used to calculate your subsidy, it’s likely that the subsidy will change (generally increase). If you need to report any other changes that will affect your subsidy, such as a change in income, you should also report that information. This is particularly important to remember, if one parent is quitting or taking time away from their career to devote themselves to child rearing.
You have 60 days to report the change. The Special Enrollment Period extends for 60 days after the event that necessitates a change to your health insurance plan (such as the birth of a baby). You might be “enjoying” some sleepless nights during this time period, so remember to mark the deadline on your calendar so that you don’t miss your window of opportunity.
For more help, give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have, and help you make decisions about your health insurance policy.