(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Pamela R. Lampitt, Gabriela Mosquera and Joann Downey sponsored that would require New Jersey hospitals and birthing centers to provide informational literature on health insurance coverage for newborns to new parents cleared the Assembly, 74-0, on Thursday.
“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.”
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 the time, coverage for newborns lapses until the next open enrollment period.
“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.”
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.
Under the legislation (A-1458) 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.
The measure would take effect four months following its enactment. The bill was released by the Assembly Women and Children Committee on June 6. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.