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This Woman Struggled to Get Health Insurance for Her Baby Because of ‘Policy’

upset baby

You would think that getting healthcare for a baby shouldn’t be difficult, considering babies are completely helpless and typically tend to need checkups and doctor’s appointments. Well, apparently this is not the case, even if you and your family already have existing coverage.

Ester Bloom, a mom of two, wrote a candid essay on The Atlantic about how she and her family are currently enrolled in a healthcare plan through Oscar. Before she gave birth to her second child, she inquired about having her son covered, like her daughter is, to which she initially received the answer that her son would be. She wrote:

“Before I gave birth, I made three calls: one to Oscar, my health-insurance company; one to the New York state exchange through which I receive my insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act; and one to Child Health Plus, New York’s ‘health insurance program for kids,’ through which my toddler daughter receives her coverage and with which I wanted to enroll my son.”

Unfortunately, things weren’t smooth sailing from there. His healthcare did kick in–only, it kicked in six weeks later. Yes, six entire weeks. While CHP is touted to be successful (and it is does cover over 200,000 children as of this year), there is one caveat: It’s not timely. Bloom explained how the delay was explained away by “policy,” stating:

“What no one told me is that CHP is not obligated by the state to backdate coverage of qualified newborn infants so as to guarantee them health insurance from their first day of life.

So, instead, CHP delays the initiation of coverage of babies for 30 or 45 days after birth, depending on whether the baby is born before or after the 15th of the month. As representative after representative told me on the phone, when I called, with increasing desperation, from the maternity ward, ‘That’s policy.'”

In the end, the author ended up buying an entirely separate plan for her newborn son–because there wasn’t anything else she could do–unless she let him go uncovered completely. Buying a new plan for her son wasn’t cheap, as you can imagine:

“Though we’d only be using the plan for six weeks, it still came with a $2,000 out-of-pocket max. Total cost: $550—all of which had to be handed over right away. Child Health Plus, by contrast, charges families at my income level $60 per child. That was what I had budgeted for.”

But, the bigger question is: What if she wasn’t financially able to purchase this other plan? Why should new parents have to go through hoops just to get healthcare for one of the most vulnerable members of our society?

Have you had a similar experience trying to get healthcare for your children? Tell us in the comments below.


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