When you are adopting a child, it is important to enroll your child in your health care plan within 30 days of his/her adoption OR placement for adoption.
This is important for two reasons: 1) if you do so, this will allow coverage for your child under your group health care coverage to be effective immediately as of your child’s adoption or placement date; and 2) this will prevent a “lapse” in insurance that could subject your child to a preexisting condition exclusion for any health issues s/he may have. (Note: In the event that your child has a “lapse” of more than 63 days (a period in which s/he has no insurance coverage, including Medicaid coverage), an insurance company may exclude treatment/coverage for any preexisting conditions for up to 12 months.)
In the excitement and flurry of adoption, this is an issue that may get lost in the shuffle. Don’t let that happen!
As soon as you know that you will be adopting, you should contact your employer’s HR department or plan administrator to review the requirements for enrollment.
Please note: Even if your company only has open enrollment at specific times in the year, you will be entitled to a “special enrollment” based upon the adoption.
Be sure to speak with your adoption attorney as soon as possible about the documentation you will need in order to enroll your child. You may need documentation from the law firm, district clerk, adoption agency, or court in order to present to your insurance company or employer. This is not always immediately available, so be sure to give your adoption attorney a “heads up” so that she can prepare it for you.
More detailed information about preexisting conditions, special enrollment, and other provisions of HIPPA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor website