Insurance for Newborns and Growing Families

Having a baby changes everything. No, really it does. Even how employees use health insurance.

Your organization can take steps to help new parents navigate insurance for newborns. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as employees recalibrate their health care plan.

Maternity Care

Newborns are certainly demanding, but health care plans also need to look out for mom. Private health care plans must cover pregnancy. However, that doesn’t mean that your employees’ preferred doctor or midwife is covered. Encourage employees to double check eligibility before they need maternity services.

Leaves of Absence

If your company has 50 or more employees and your employee (male or female) has worked at the company for at least a year, they’re eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. Make sure that expecting parents are aware of this. Sometimes people think of this strictly as maternity leave, but it’s for paternity leave as well. Parents are also covered if they adopt a child or receive a new foster child.

Some states, such as New York, require you to offer paid leave to new parents. Paid family leave may also be part of your company’s benefits offering or included in your short-term disability plan. Ensure that expecting parents are fully aware of their leave options.

Adding Newborns to Plans

Because having a baby is a qualifying event, your employee has an opportunity to change their health care plan.

It’s crucial to communicate with expecting parents about the qualifying event period. If the newborn is not actively added to the plan within 30 days, there won’t be another opportunity until the next open enrollment period. If employees don’t take care of insurance for newborns within the first two weeks after birth, don’t hesitate to reach out with a reminder. Your employees will appreciate the extra effort.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

While your employees might be familiar with using an FSA to cover medical costs (if you offer one), they may not know that there EW dependent care flexible spending accounts. If a child will be enrolled in day care (even part time), your employee can pay some of those costs with pretax dollars through a dependent care FSA. This can be a real cost saver for employees, so consider offering a dependent care FSA if you don’t already.

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With all the excitement and sleepless nights, it can be easy for employees to let insurance fall by the wayside. By taking proactive steps to get the ball rolling early, you can help workers choose and use the right benefits.

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Suzanne Lucas, better known as the Evil HR Lady, spent 10 years in corporate HR where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. She left corporate life to focus on making HR better for everyone. She writes and speaks about how to make your business truly employee focused and how to avoid the pitfalls so many other businesses face. Her work has appeared at Inc.com, CBS News, the New York Times, and many other publications. You can connect with her at LinkedIn, follower her on Twitter, or read her blog, at EvilHRLady.Org

Suzanne Lucas

Suzanne Lucas, better known as the Evil HR Lady, spent 10 years in corporate HR where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. She left corporate life to focus on making HR better for everyone. She writes and speaks about how to make your business truly employee focused and how to avoid the pitfalls so many other businesses face. Her work has appeared at Inc.com, CBS News, the New York Times, and many other publications. You can connect with her at LinkedIn, follower her on Twitter, or read her blog, at EvilHRLady.Org

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