The deadline for signing up for individual health insurance is over for this year. But if you become a parent, your baby has just qualified you for a “special enrollment period,” which means you can still sign up for a plan, either in or out of the Washington Healthplanfinder.
Here’s the incentive: Babies can be expensive! Parents could be on the hook not only for the average cost of medical expenses for the first year of life — $4,551, growing to $49,000 for a premie or low-birth-weight baby, according to the March of Dimes — but the uninsured child penalty of up to 1 percent of their income.
If you think you might qualify for a subsidy, or for Medicaid (Apple Health), sign up at Washington Healthplanfinder. Health-insurance company websites also have information on deadlines and documentation required to qualify for the special enrollment period. New moms can also get benefits through the Affordable Care Act such as breastfeeding support, and no baby can be denied coverage because of any pre-existing condition.