(TRENTON) — Legislation Assembly Women and Children Committee Chairwoman Pamela R. Lampitt sponsored that would require New Jersey hospitals and birthing centers to provide informational literature on health insurance coverage for newborns to new parents was recently released from her committee.
“Giving birth is an emotional, exciting and overwhelming experience for new parents,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “They have thousands of questions and concerns, but making sure their insurance company is notified of the new addition to the family within 30 days is almost universally not one of them.”
Under current law, newborns are automatically covered under their parents’ insurance for a period of 30 days after the date of birth. If the insurance company is not notified of the birth within that time, coverage for the newborn lapses until the next open enrollment period.
According to Lampitt, this lack of knowledge about the coverage enrollment window can leave new parents footing the bill for wellness visits for their child and can be especially taxing for single mothers attempting to adapt to life with a new baby.
Under her legislation (A-3753) the state departments of Health (DOH) and Banking and Insurance (DOBI) would be required to prepare and make available to hospitals and birthing centers informational literature on health insurance coverage for newborns.
The literature would inform new parents of:
- The timeline under which the parent’s health insurance policy provides coverage for a newborn child; and
- How to obtain coverage for that child after that period under:
- The parent’s policy;
- A separate, private health insurance policy; or
- A public health coverage plan.
“This is something that is so easy to miss in the chaos and joy of bringing a new life into the world,” said Lampitt. “Fortunately, it’s also a problem that is fairly easy to fix.”
The measure would take effect four months following its enactment. It now heads to the full Assembly for further consideration.