7 health insurance hacks for New Moms
Congrats! It’s a...Silver PPO plan!
Did you know that having a baby qualifies you to buy health insurance during Special Enrollment? Even if you already have coverage, consider switching to a plan that fits your growing family. Doing so can help you afford your medical costs, avoid scary bills, and let you skip the government’s annual penalty for going uninsured (at least $325 or 2% of your household income).
New Baby? Here’s what you need to know:
Tip 1: Learn the basics.
Don’t know how health insurance works? Not sure what “deductible” means? Check out this quick guide. In just a few minutes, you’ll be an expert on basic health insurance features, how doctor networks function, and more.
Tip 2: You have 60 days to purchase.
Having a baby is a “qualifying event,” which means you have 60 days after your child’s birth to purchase or switch insurance. This insurance will cover any of your child’s health needs during the first few critical years of their life when trips to the doctor are frequent.
Pro tip: When you sign up for a new plan, make sure you have your child’s birth certificate or a letter from your medical center showing proof of birth. Many insurers require Qualifying Event Documentation to prove you really had a baby!
Tip 2: Already have health insurance? See if you can add your newborn, or try switching plans!
If you have a health plan, call your insurance company and ask the cost of adding your newborn.
Pro tip: Adding someone to your plan makes your premiums (monthly payments) increase. It may be worthwhile to shop for a new policy for the whole family. Check your options so you can get the best deal.
Tip 3: Cheaper isn’t always better.
While health plans with low monthly payments may look like they save you more, they can leave you with big medical bills if you have a lot of health costs. If you anticipate many prescriptions and doctor visits in the next year, consider a plan with more expensive monthly payments (like a Gold tier plan). It can save you more by keeping the costs of doctor visits, medications, and treatments lower while offering more expansive access to different doctors and specialists.
Pro tip: Not a numbers person? Just search for a plan on our site and let us do the tricky calculus. You can also reach out to our licensed health insurance agents for personal advice!
Tip 4: Pick a network with the doctors you want.
Different plans provide different access to doctors (learn more about networks here). Ask your friends and family for pediatrician recommendations, then make sure one or two great doctors are included in your plan’s network. Stride can help you pick a plan that includes the doctors you want.
Pro Tip: Have more children at home? Make a list of everyone’s favorite doctors and important medications. Don’t forget about necessities like your child’s favorite pediatrician. Use this list as a starting point for the doctors you want your plan to include.
Tip 5: Take advantage of your benefits.
The Affordable Care Act (think Obamacare) mandated that all health insurance plans cover certain services. Some of the services that are especially useful to new parents include: - Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling: free! - Well-woman visits: free! - Prenatal and postpartum counseling: covered!
More free health insurance perks here.
Tip 6: Consider your newborn’s special medical needs.
If you know your child will require medical attention for a condition, focus on reducing the cost of specific treatments and doctors’ visits (see tip 3). If your child needs to see various specialists because of an illness they are born with, you might want to consider a “Preferred Provider Organization” (PPO) plan that allows more flexibility when visiting specialists and doctors.
Tip 7: See if you qualify for a subsidy.
As an adult with dependents, you may receive subsidies or tax credits to reduce the cost of insurance. If you’d like to calculate your government subsidy, search for a health plan on Stride and make sure to answer “yes” to this question: The government might pay for some of your health insurance. Do you want to see if you qualify?
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