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health as it happens

Lawmakers float fix to health insurance 'birthday rule' - BenefitsPro

infant sleeping The “Empowering Parents’ Healthcare Choices Act,” would do away with “the birthday rule” and a “coordination of benefits policy” that trips up first-time parents when it’s time to sign up a new baby. (Photo: Shutterstock)

When Kayla Kjelshus gave birth to her first child, the infant spent seven days in the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU. This stressful medical experience was followed by an equally stressful financial one. Because of an obscure health insurance policy called the “birthday rule,” Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, were hit with an unexpected charge of more than $200,000 for the NICU stay.

Now, seven months after KHN and NPR published a story about the Kjelshus family’s experience, new parents may be spared this kind of financial uncertainty if lawmakers pass a bill that would give parents more control when it’s time to pick a health insurance policy for their child.