By Blanche Sheppard
You know those silly AFLAC commercials, where someone looks super worried as they sort through their bills in anticipation of an upcoming procedure, but then the annoying duck pops up and reminds them that they are covered? This article isn’t about the duck, but it is about considering how a new child impacts your benefits. The duck probably seems more exciting right about now….
I don’t usually write about benefits for the Vantage Point, but then again, I’m not usually about to go on maternity leave. If you’re a plan administrator, you might have employees who will need to consider the impact that a new dependent will have on their benefits. As an employer, you might want to consider how your organization can support said employees before, during, and after such an occasion.
- When choosing a Medical plan for your growing family, consider the family deductible and out of pocket maximum. Does anyone require frequent visits outside of preventative care? How will an aggregate versus embedded deductible impact the family’s benefits?
- Do you offer Short-term Disability (STD) coverage? Many STD policies cover 6-10 weeks of maternity leave at a percentage of the employee’s pre-disability weekly earnings. These policies are also helpful if an employee needs to be out for a sickness or injury. You can consider this a “peace of mind” type of coverage. The employee has the peace of mind knowing that they have some income while they are out, and the company has the peace of mind knowing that their employee is taken care of in the event that they need to be absent. If you do offer short-term disability, you might prep the paperwork before the employee is scheduled for maternity leave, as this will smooth the process.
- Once a baby is born, or adopted, they will be eligible to come onto your group Medical plan. You will want to add them to the plan within 30 days of their birth or adoption, because both count as qualifying events. For a new baby, you might not have their social security number right away. That’s ok! Insurance companies know that this is the case, and will follow up on it later on.
- Consider the benefits needs of a new baby versus an older child. An infant might not need ancillary Dental or Vision benefits, as the pediatric Dental and Vision embedded in many Medical plans will be sufficient. An older child will need periodic check up’s.
- Do you have Voluntary Worksite benefits? Some employers work with carriers like AFLAC and Colonial Life to offer employee-paid coverage that can supplement health insurance. Some even offer incentives for regular doctor visits!
- Are you subject to FMLA? Groups subject to FMLA must allow employees with a new child, through birth or adoption, to take time off for bonding. If you’re interested in a quick overview, the US Department of Labor has quick Fact Sheets that include definitions of organizations subject to FMLA and overviews of what that means in regards to new dependents.