Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela R. Lampitt, Gabriela Mosquera and Joann Downey sponsored that would require informational literature on health insurance coverage for newborns to be provided to new parents continued advancing on Monday, receiving approval from a Senate panel.
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 newborns lapses until the next open enrollment period.
“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. This is something that is so easy to miss in the chaos and joy of bringing a new life into the world.”
According to the sponsors, 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.
The legislation (A-1458) would require the Commissioner of the Department of Health (DOH) to make information on newborn health insurance coverage available to each health care professional who provides prenatal care in the state. Each health care professional would then be required to provide the information to new mothers, including adoptive mothers.
“New life is a joy and deserves to be protected,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “This legislation encourages expecting parents to plan ahead and avoid the interruption of healthcare benefits for their newborn.”
“There’s a lot to remember when planning for the arrival of a new baby,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Ensuring continuous health benefits coverage for a newborn is just as important as making sure you’ve packed the baby blankets. The intent of this bill is to remind parents of the urgency in obtaining health insurance within the specified period of time.”
The literature would be required to 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 either the parent’s policy; a separate, private health insurance policy; or public health coverage plan.
The legislation had been unanimously approved by the full Assembly in March. However, the measure was amended by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today so it must now go back to the full Assembly for concurrence, in addition to being approved by the full Senate. The bill would take effect four months following its enactment.