(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Nancy Pinkin and Raj Mukherji to ensure newborns are covered under their parents insurance during the first few critical months of life was approved, 76-0, by the full Assembly on Thursday.
The bill (A-2665) extends the time period in which newborn children are covered under their parent's health benefits coverage from the current 60 days.
"With all that's going on when a child is first born, the 30-day deadline can be problematic for some parents to meet and may cause unnecessary stress," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This bill will provide a longer period of time for children to be covered under their parents' health coverage in order to ensure that children have access to adequate health care during the critical first few months of life."
"Current law provides for only a month of health insurance coverage for newborns," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "The first three months are the most crucial in the life of a newborn. Families should not have to worry about health coverage if a problem arises before more permanent insurance is acquired."
"There are medical conditions and developmental milestones which parents watch especially for in the first few months of a child's life," said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). "Extending health benefits coverage for newborns ensures families their child's health care costs will be covered if any problem does arise in the first few months of life."
"Acquiring health insurance is one of many concerns parents have to deal with after the birth of a child," said Mukherji (D-Hudson). "Extending the 30-day coverage for those critical first few months of a newborn's life until more permanent coverage can be obtained is the decent thing to do and sensible public policy."
Current law limits the coverage of newly born children to 30 days from their birth. At the conclusion of 30 days, the child would be without coverage, unless parents enroll the child in a private health benefits coverage policy or in a state or federal program, such as FamilyCare.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.