Whether you’re expecting a baby, adopting, or fostering a child, here’s how to make sure your newest addition is covered from day one.

Even life’s most joyous events come with responsibilities — maybe none more so than preparing for the arrival of a new family member. Whether you are an adoptive parent, a first-time mom or a veteran foster dad, your child’s wellbeing will be your top concern. Once you bring your child home, you’ll want to give them all of your attention, so take the time now to look into health coverage options for your growing family. 

Today’s the Day

However long you’ve waited for your child, you won’t have to wait for health insurance. Through Covered California, you can add or change coverage as soon as your little one arrives.  

Covered California is a free service that helps connect California residents with brand-name, quality health insurance as well as financial and enrollment help for those who need it. Usually, you can only purchase health insurance through Covered California during the yearly sign-up period known as open enrollment. Certain exceptions are granted for life-changing events — and for good reason, having a new child qualifies.

No matter the time of year, you have 60 days from your child’s arrival or adoption date to enroll or update an existing plan for your entire family during this special enrollment period. However, people with low incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty line, or those who qualify for Medi-Cal, can apply year-round. Keep in mind that for the first 30 days, your newborn child will be covered under the mother’s health insurance if she has a plan. 

Safeguard Your Family

Enroll your child as soon as possible after their arrival by visiting Covered California online. If you have questions or need assistance, free expert help is available. If you already have health insurance through Covered California, you can easily update your family information to include your new child through your Covered California account. Whether enrolling or changing your plan online, you’ll be asked to enter the date of your child’s birth, adoption or foster placement.

Keep in mind that when you apply for coverage through Covered California, you may get financial help to lower the cost of your health insurance. Because financial help is based on both income and household size, adding a new member may change whether your family qualifies and the level of help you can receive. Try our Shop and Compare tool to see how family size may impact your eligibility.

Medi-Cal, which offers free or low-cost health insurance, may be an option for low-income families as well. You can apply for Medi-Cal through Covered California year-round. Depending on your household size and annual income, some family members may be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage and others for a Covered California plan. Additionally, infants born to women already receiving Medi-Cal are automatically covered until their first birthday. Just call your county Medi-Cal office or fill out and send in the Newborn Referral Form

Keep Your Paperwork Handy

After you’ve submitted an application, you may receive a notice to provide proof of your qualifying life event. Most likely this will include official documents that show your name, your child’s name and the date of their arrival or adoption. For example, you might need to provide a copy of any adoption records, foster care papers or your newborn’s birth certificate. Adoption from a foreign country might require a U.S. Department of Homeland Security immigration document as well.

Take the time now to understand your health insurance options, browse plans and get necessary documents so you can enroll as soon as you bring your child home and protect everyone in your growing family. If you have any questions or need help enrolling in or changing health insurance plans, Covered California is here to help.  

Enroll or add your new family member for coverage through Covered California.