Vitale, Ruiz Bill To Provide Information on Health Insurance Coverage for Newborns Clears Senate

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale and M. Teresa Ruiz that would require healthcare professionals who deliver prenatal care in New Jersey to provide parents of newborns with information on health insurance coverage for newborn children received approval today in the Senate.

“Making information accessible to new parents on how to obtain insurance coverage for their newborns is not only commonsense but it also sends a message that promotes healthy beginnings for children,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “It is also practical that prenatal healthcare providers, who most directly and regularly interact with new parents, are the source of the information dissemination.”

The bill (S-2449) requires the Department of Health, in consultation with the Department of Banking and Insurance, to prepare and make available to healthcare professionals that provide prenatal care in New Jersey informational literature on health insurance coverage for newborn children. At a minimum, the information would inform new parents of: (1) the period of time during which applicable State and federal laws require a parent’s health insurance policy to provide coverage for a newborn child; and (2) how to obtain coverage for the child after that period under the parent’s policy, a separate private health insurance policy, or a public health coverage plan.  Under current New Jersey law, State-regulated health insurance plans must cover services to newborns for 30 days after the date of birth. 

“Many new parents are not even aware of the 30-day limit to insurance coverage under their policy for their newborn babies,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Providing parents with information on how they can secure coverage for their children is important to the greater effort of making sure that every child born in New Jersey is insured.”

Under the bill, healthcare professionals that provide prenatal care in New Jersey would be required to provide the informational literature to new mothers, including adoptive mothers, and any other family members, with the informational literature.

The bill was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 74-0. The Senate approved it 34-0. It has to go back to the Assembly to concur with amendments before heading to the governor’s desk. If signed, the law would take effect four months after enactment.