Big Baby Denied Insurance: Infant in 99th Percentile Considered "Obese"

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The parents of a breastfed four month old baby boy who is in the 99th percentile in height and weight were surprised to find that their insurance company will not cover any babies over the 95th percentile in weight, according to the Denver Post.

Bernie and Kelli Lange tried to get insurance for their growing family with Rocky Mountain Health Plans when their current insurer raised their rates 40 percent after Alex was born. They filled out the paperwork and awaited approval, figuring their family is young and healthy. But the broker who was helping them find new insurance called Thursday with news that shocked them.

” ‘Your baby is too fat,’ she told me,” Bernie said.

The four month old’s supposed obesity makes him a risk.

Alex’s pre-existing condition — “obesity” — makes him a financial risk. Health insurance reform measures are trying to do away with such denials that come from a process called “underwriting.”

“If health care reform occurs, underwriting will go away. We do it because everybody else in the industry does it,” said Dr. Doug Speedie, medical director at Rocky Mountain Health Plans, the company that turned down Alex.

This decision was presumably based on the CDC growth charts. Exclusively breastfed babies can be more accurately gauged by the WHO charts.

Click on image to see comparison of WHO and CDC growth charts


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