Caring: Lengthy Obamacare Application Process is Leaving Newborns Uninsured

Cortney O'Brien
|
Posted: Mar 02, 2015 1:00 PM
Caring: Lengthy Obamacare Application Process is Leaving Newborns Uninsured

Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) wasn’t prepared for the lengthy battle he was about to endure when he and his wife Grace tried to put their newborn girl Camille on their health insurance plan. Yet, thanks to the overbearing bureaucratic process of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, that seemingly simple action became World War Three.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Varney & Co.” Friday, Rep. Mooney explained why their daughter, born in October, wasn’t added to their insurance plan until late January.

The Mooneys’ headache was brought on by Obamacare’s bureaucratic procedure. You see, in order to add your newborn to your insurance plan you have to apply for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and be either accepted or denied. It is an income-based plan, yet even if you know your income is above the threshold and you won’t qualify for CHIP, you nonetheless have to fill out an application and wait for a response. The entire process often takes longer than the 30-day period parents have to add their newborns to their plans.

Since parents aren’t getting their rejection letters back until after the 30-day deadline, they can’t add a child to their plan until the open enrollment period. This means, they are responsible for any medical costs until that period.

Mooney is not the only parent who has had to battle the HHS. KUTV.com reported on the plights of three families with newborns who tried to sign their children up through CHIP and similarly missed the deadline. One mother, Maggie, lamented the fact she knew she wouldn’t qualify and saw no reason for submitting an application, “but they said we had to.” The reporter concluded it is “impossible” for many of these parents to add their new babies to their plans:

“They are getting stuck with massive labor and delivery bills they should not have to pay.”

After their report on how newborns are being rejected insurance, KUTV reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services for an explanation. The agency responded with this helpful information:

“It is important to answer all the questions on the application, so the child can receive a correct eligibility determination…To avoid a delay in coverage, parents are encouraged to return to the marketplace to report a birth…as soon as they can.”

In case you couldn’t tell in my lead in to the quote, my use of “helpful” was sarcastic.

After KUTV contacted HHS, the local news station received at least 15 calls from other parents dealing with the same Big Government obstacles. Oh yeah, and each of the three families featured in the segment suddenly heard back that their newborn children had been added to their plans.

Fancy that.

Seeking to draw attention to Obamacare’s unfair bureaucratic process, Rep. Mooney is writing a letter to HHS Secretary Silvia Mathews Burwell asking for clarification on the marketplace website. For instance, online it says you have 60 days to report a new birth, but in reality it’s being treated as a regular life event that you have 30 days to report. Mooney also wants clearer language regarding CHIP, as well as the process for getting covered if you miss the deadline – right now there is no clear alternative option.

“This is the latest highlight of the terrible effects of putting federal bureaucracy in between a family and their healthcare decisions, “ Mooney said. “The terrible financial impact of having a newborn go uncovered is wreaking havoc on struggling young families. I can attest to the absurdity of this process having lived through it myself in the last year, and being prevented from adding my newborn baby to my family’s insurance plan.”

Moral of the story? Bureaucracy and babies don’t mix.