Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

April 19, 2022

Senator Lesser Leads Passage Of Bill For Health Insurance Coverage Of Newborns

Today, state Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), Chair of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee led passage of Senate Bill 377, An Act Concerning Health Insurance Coverage For Newborns. Senate Bill 377 will extend the time period for which a parent would need to provide notice of the birth of a newborn, and pay any required premium or subscription fee to continue the newborn’s coverage.

“As a father, I know the most important thing a parent wants for their newborn child to be healthy and safe,” said Sen. Lesser. “If a new parent has a child, especially a newborn with health-related complications, the last thing on a parents mind is going into their HR department at work and enroll their newborn in a health insurance plan. This bill allows parents to focus on what is important.”

Currently, certain health insurance policies that cover family members must cover newborns from birth for a set period before requiring payment to continue the coverage. This bill extends the period within which the insured person must notify the health carrier about the birth from 61 days after birth to 121 days after birth or the hospital discharge date.

SB 377 applies to those fully insured and to group health insurance policies that cover basic hospital expenses, basic medical-surgical expenses, major medical expenses, accidents, and hospital or medical services.

This bill has support from Connecticut Children’s with the President of the Connecticut Children’s Specialty Group and the Director of Neonatology at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center submitting positive testimony urging for passage to allow families to be able to easily access and maintain health insurance coverage for their newborns, whichever is later.

Through Connecticut Children’s growing neonatal network, they are expanding access to communities across the state. The hospital collaborates on the care teams for more than 55% of babies born annually; meaning almost 20,000 Connecticut babies each year get a healthy start in life because their first doctor is one of Connecticut Children’s pediatric experts. This bill would help ensure that those who have a state regulated healthcare plan, will be able to have their newborn receive health insurance coverage through their caregivers’ plans.

Infants in the Hartford NICU often stay for weeks and months at a time as they receive highly specialized care. In Fiscal Year 2021, Connecticut Children’s treated 850 patients across the NICU; 206 of which stayed greater than 30 days. The average length of stay for these patients was 77 days. As it relates to this bill, CT Children’s are supportive of an extended period of time to notify insurers as navigating the complexities of enrollment is often the last thing on a parent’s mind when their newborn is receiving care in a NICU.