Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • If you already have health insurance, your baby is eligible to be covered from the moment they are born
  • You have 30 days to add your baby to your health insurance plan and they will be retroactively covered from their day of birth onwards
  • If you want to purchase a plan through the healthcare exchange marketplace for your newborn baby, you will be eligible for a special enrollment period
  • You can also apply for coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program(CHIP)
  • If you already have health coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, it should extend to your newborn when they are born
  • Maternity and newborn care are considered essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act so most insurance plans are required to offer this coverage

How do I add my newborn to my health plan?


If you have comprehensive health insurance through your job, you can add your child to your health plan within 30 days of the birth and they will be retroactively covered from the day of their birth onwards. You should speak to the human resources department at your job about enrolling your child. You will need the baby’s birth certificate and social security number. There will most likely be an additional cost as your baby will have their own deductible and benefits package.

If you don’t already have health insurance, having a baby qualifies you to enroll outside of the open enrollment period. Compare private health insurance quotes from your state’s top providers free right now and see what you’re eligible for! Click here to get started!

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How do I enroll my newborn in a healthcare exchange marketplace plan?

If you do not have a health insurance plan through your job or you wish to purchase one through the healthcare exchange marketplace for another reason, the birth of your baby will qualify you for a special enrollment period. If you had a baby, adopted a child, or took in a foster child, you can enroll in a healthcare exchange plan up to 60 days after the event that will retroactively start the day of.

Other changes in household size, such as a divorce, marriage, or death in the family will also qualify you for a special enrollment period. The open enrollment period for a 2017 marketplace plan ended January 31, 2017.

What is the Children’s Health Insurance Program(CHIP)?


The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides low-cost health insurance coverage to children of lower-income families who may not be eligible for Medicaid because of the amount of money they make. CHIP coverage and eligibility requirements vary depending on the state. In some states, it covers pregnant women in addition to children.

To apply for CHIP coverage, you can either call their phone number and speak to a representative or fill out an application through the health insurance marketplace.If it appears you might be eligible, the marketplace will forward your application to your local CHIP agency who will be in contact with you about your options.

Although CHIP benefits vary by state, it always covers check-ups, immunizations, emergency and lab services, and prescriptions.

Some services are free under CHIP, but some require a copayment. Depending on your state, there may also be a monthly premium but it will never be more than 5 percent of your total household income.

What if I already have Medicaid or CHIP coverage?

If you already have insurance through Medicaid or CHIP, you should receive immediate coverage for your newborn baby under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. Your baby should automatically be enrolled and covered by the program for up to one year.

The CHIP Reauthorization Act also eliminated the Medicaid eligibility requirements that newborns must live with their mother after coming home from the hospital and that the mother remains eligible for Medicaid in order for the child to be enrolled in the program.

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What are the essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act?


Under the Affordable Care Act, all health plans must offer the 10 essential health benefits with no dollar limit. Some of these services are offered completely free of cost but most require payment through some sort of cost sharing plan.

In addition to ambulatory and emergency services, prescription coverage, and mental health care, as well as several others, maternity care and newborn care are listed as essential health benefits. This means that all healthcare plans must cover prenatal care, medical care during labor and delivery, and necessary health services for newborns.

There are several health insurance options available for your newborn baby from the moment they are born. If you have employer-based health coverage, you have 30 days to enroll them on your plan.

If you want to purchase a healthcare exchange plan, you will be eligible for a special enrollment period up to 60 days after the event. You can also apply for CHIP and Medicaid coverage for your newborn or extend it to them if you are already covered under these programs.

Find health insurance for your newest family member today by entering your zip code below and comparing free quotes!