Obamacare covers babies too, despite a ‘Post’ report
On Sunday morning, the New York Post published the story of Cornelius Kelly, who was dismayed to learn that the New York State health insurance plans could cover his wife and three older children, but that he would have to buy a separate plan for his 18-month-old daughter.
Fox News ran with the story on Monday morning, and had Kelly on to retell the tale. Within hours, the story had spread.
The problem is, Kelly appears to have been given some bad information. Family plans in New York cover the whole family. No baby has to wait until its second birthday to join a family plan, as the article described Kelly being told.
“It was 100 percent false,” said Bill Schwarz, a spokesman for the state's Department of Health. “Of course, everyone is covered in the family policy.”
Kelly, who in 2011 ran and lost on the Conservative Party line for a seat on the Suffolk County legislature, said he was told three times by different state representatives that his toddler would require a separate insurance plan, and that his daughter would have to turn 2 before she could be covered under a family plan.
The mixup appears to have been rooted in Kelly's application, which originally listed only three of his children even though he has four. When the clerical error was discovered, it was corrected, Schwarz said.
Kelly said the state only reversed course after he went to the Post.
"Someone from the state called me and apologized," he said. "Why would they apologize if they had done nothing wrong?"
Perhaps the confusion stems from how insurance companies price family plans under the Affordable Care Act, which varies based on state law. A family, which in New York is considered to be an individual plus his or her spouse and all their children, can be charged no more than 2.85 times the price of an individual's plan. It doesn't matter how many children are in the family or how old they are.
The means the Kellys should be able to find a plan that covers the whole family starting at about $9,700 per year.
An attempt to reach the Post reporters and a representative for the newspapers was unsuccessful.