A constant concern for new parents is their baby’s fragile health. Newborn babies are most vulnerable to infections while their bodies slowly develop the immunity to combat illnesses. Besides, childbirth complications and neonatal congenital disabilities are becoming common factors nowadays, and you cannot ignore them. Before you know it, you can unexpectedly drain your financial savings if and when the baby takes ill.

Aftab Chaz, associate director – digital sales, Elephant.in, an insuretech firm, said, “Childcare costs are some of the highest in the country, and the medical costs for a child’s treatment usually do not come under regular health insurance plans. Thus, insurers provide healthcare for infants which are specially designed to treat the ailments that children face at their naïve age. However, you have to careful while buying a health policy.”

Hence, to help save such costs, you should have a comprehensive health insurance policy. Nayan Goswami, head – general insurance, Sana Insurance Brokers, said that covering your newborn infant under a health insurance plan will help take the load off regarding financial security towards hospitalization expenses when the need arises. “The primary reason for taking adequate health insurance cover for your newborn is so that you would be able to ensure the baby gets the right treatment on time without having to worry about organizing urgent funds during a medical necessity,” said Goswami.

Many health insurance policies in India cover newborn babies across base health policies and optional add-on features. Before finalizing a policy that best suits your family’s needs, it is crucial to be aware of some critical points such as:

Newborn baby coverage: Some health insurance firms that provide newborn baby coverage do so as an extension of maternity coverage being opted in the policy. However, the newborn baby will be included in health insurance coverage only if the mother is covered under maternity benefits in the same policy.

Waiting period: Maternity and pregnancy are tagged as ‘pre-existing conditions’ under health insurance terminologies. As such, they carry a waiting period to be served before the mother and baby become eligible for maternity and just-born coverage, respectively. In such a case, you should select a health insurance policy that allows you to either waive off the waiting period upon payment of additional premium or has a shorter waiting period so that you get coverage sooner.

Just-born baby cover: There is a distinct differentiation between the terms ‘just-born baby cover’ and ‘newborn baby cover’. If offered by the health insurance policy, just-born baby cover (i.e. from 0 to 90 days at birth) would typically form a part of maternity benefits. The insurer may not extend this cover to the baby by default in all cases.

“Some insurers specify that the coverage would be considered upon intimation only. The coverage could be sub-limited to a specified amount or a percentage of the sum insured (either the base health policy or the maternity benefit amount),” said Goswami.

Newborn baby cover: Infants aged 91 days and onwards (say up to 120 or 180 days as specified by the insurer) must be added as insured members while the health insurance policy is in force. Some insurers permit midterm inclusion subject to certain conditions, such as pro-rata additional premium needs to be paid for the newborn and upon intimation within the specified period. Certain insurance companies allow you to add your newborn only at the policy renewal and not during the year.

Coverage aspects: “A good health insurance policy for newborns would cover prenatal and postnatal hospitalization expenses, delivery procedure costs, treatment of certain childbirth complications and infant vaccinations, to name a few crucial aspects. Natal vaccination is advised for babies to help them develop strong immunization against preventable diseases,” said Goswami.

Exclusions: The policy may not provide coverage for external congenital diseases. However, internal congenital complications and genetic disorders are covered. However, even a policy covering newborn babies could mention certain eliminations to coverage in the list of exclusions, which every parent should be paying attention to.

Mint takeaway

Choosing an optimum health insurance policy for your newborn can become challenging when faced with numerous options. While doing your research, it would be best to compare multiple health insurance policies across coverage features and benefits to select the policy that is the best fit for your family unit’s and your infant’s healthcare requirements. Parents to-be need to be mindful that there are no by-default inclusions in health insurance, particularly their newborn tots. Goswami said, “Before zeroing in on your selection, it is advisable to thoroughly scan and understand all the terms and conditions mentioned in the policy wordings or customer information sheet attached to the selected policy.”

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