What To Know About Health Insurance and Childbirth
March 23, 2023
Having a baby is a thrilling event for many families. No one wants to have to think about health insurance during such an exciting time.
There are ways BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina can help.
“I like to call us the best kept secret. A lot of people don’t even know they have their insurance company as a resource during pregnancy,” says Marie Fox, a registered nurse and maternity program manager at BlueCross. “This is especially true for first-time parents who may not have had to use their benefits before.”
Earlier we shared important information to know during pregnancy. Here are key things to know after childbirth.
Being ready for giving birth is important. Fox encourages people to ask questions.
“Asking questions and preparing for the birth of your baby will help ease frustration and decrease stress,” she says.
BlueCross is here to help.
BlueCross is a resource for pregnant women. You likely have questions. Reach out to our team for help.
“We can help members navigate their benefits,” Fox says.
The best way to reach someone is to call the number on the back of your BlueCross member ID card. If you don’t have a copy, you can find your ID card in My Health Toolkit® online or in the app. Different plans have different customer service teams. Calling the number on your card will get you to the correct team quickly. Find out more about the importance of ID cards on our blog.
Add your child as soon as possible.
The first few days and weeks after you give birth can be a lot to deal with. Preparing for making changes early will reduce the stress when you are a sleep-deprived new parent.
Having a baby is a “qualifying life event” that allows you to make a change to your health plan. How long you have to make the change depends on the plan. Most plans require babies to be added within 30 days. The amount of time you have to make the change is always limited.
It is important to add your child to your health insurance as soon as possible.
Hospitals and doctors’ offices will file claims with insurance. The insurance company may deny your claim or take longer to process it if you wait to add the baby to your plan. Once you add the child to your plan, these claims process.
Adding the baby early could prevent headaches.
There are a few steps required to add a new baby to your health plan. Calling BlueCross is not the only step needed.
You will do this by reaching out to your human resources department if you are covered through work. If you don’t have a group plan through work, you will add your infant the same way you got your coverage. For example, if you signed up on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you would make the change there as well. Contact the agent you worked with if you enrolled through an agent.
A copy of the birth certificate will be required to add your baby to your plan. In South Carolina, this is requested* through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). There is a small fee for the form.
Some hospitals will include the form as part of the mother’s discharge paperwork. The hospital is not responsible for completing the filing. New parents must make sure they request the certificate with DHEC.
It can take five to seven days for the birth certificate to arrive by mail.
New parents will start getting bills soon after having a new baby. Do not stress, Fox says.
Make sure your doctor, the hospital and the baby’s doctor have the right health insurance information.
If you add the baby to a partner’s plan, tell the hospital and doctor as soon as you can. Sometimes, doctors will bill the mother’s health insurance if they do not have information for the baby. This can cause denied claims and surprise bills.
Call the doctor’s office or hospital if a claim was denied because the new baby was not on the policy at the time the claim was filed but has been added. You can also call your insurance company to ask that the claim be resubmitted. This is a simple fix, Fox says.
You may have to ask the doctor to resubmit a claim.
You may get bills for separate services.
Some services performed in the OB-GYN’s office are billed separately without additional authorization. These services must be medically necessary.
Some of these include:
- Nonstress tests.
- Biophysical profiles.
- Approved in-house labs.
- RhoGAM injections.
You may get separate bills for your care in the hospital. For example, the person who gives you an epidural will usually send a separate bill. You may also have a facility claim from the hospital.
Outpatient services could lead to copays and coinsurance.
If you have questions, reach out to customer support or the maternity care team. BlueCross is here to help.
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