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Should Bigger Babies Be Denied Insurance Coverage?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
My son weighed 7.0 lbs at birth, which was an average size. He was (and still is) a good eater who grew very quickly. At his 4 month checkup, he weighed over 16 pounds and was in the 95th percentile for both height and weight. I never worried about his size because he was a breastfed baby who just happened to grow early. Our pediatrician never worried either. "Some kids grow quickly right away and then level off, while others hit a growth spurt later on. Every child is different," she told me. That's why I was shocked to hear a story from Colorado, where a 4-month old was denied insurance coverage because he was considered "obese".

Rocky Mountain Health Plans determined that Alex Lange (who weighed 17 pounds at 4 months) had a pre-existing condition (obesity) which made him a high risk patient. Alex's parents were looking for a new insurance company when their current plan raised their rates by 40 percent. Alex was in the 99th percentile for both height and weight, but his parents were told insurance companies don't take babies over the 95th percentile. So they denied him coverage.

It's not like Alex is eating M&M's all day and that's how he gained weight. He's probably not very mobile yet, so he's not burning tons of calories. His primary job is to eat, sleep and grow at 4-months old. To me, it's wrong to label this baby as "obese".

Last week Rocky Mountain Health Plans made a change to their policy so that obesity is no longer a pre-existing condition for infants. They agreed that denying Alex Lange coverage was a flaw in the system that should be corrected. Alex Lange is now elligible for coverage through their company.

This case does lead to some interesting questions. Many people expect a young baby to have chubby cheeks and rolls on their arms and legs. That's often a sign of a "healthy" baby. But at what point does the baby fat become a concern? At one year old? Two years old? Older? I don't think Alex Lange's parents have any reason to worry at this point, just like I'm not worried about my son. But at what point should a parent start to worry?

What do you think?

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I think that basically all insurance companies are "bottom feeders"...they take everything they can possibly get from you and offer little to nothing in return. My first son was a chunky little guy that I'm sure would of been "denied". At 3 months he weighed 18 pounds...he was 8 1/2 pounds at birth and was a breastfed baby. He has never had a weight problem and at age 35 is 6' 3" tall and weighs 190 pounds...long and lean. While I'm not sure about "socialized medicine" something needs to be done with these insurance companies that have all together to much power to mandate who and who does not get good care. Report
How OLD are those weight charts the insurance companies are using? Each generation has become taller and heavier than the prior generation. The data that makes up those charts has to be current or the results are skewed. Report
This is the craziest crap I've ever heard. Insurance co. crooks in sheep clothing. Are we becoming a nation of folks who are against heavy set folks???First I heard of a company who moniter employees activity this included how much they exercised what they ate and how much. When well we scream and say ENOUGH!!!!!!!!! When is what we eat or don;t any ones business. Man what a bunch of crazies. We are becoming controlled by all sort of folks. Some do not have good intentions. I say heck NO! Report
That is absolutely ridiculous. The size a child is as an infant is unrelated to the size they will be as they grow. My older son was 8 lb 2 oz and 21.5" at birth (2 weeks early). He had doubled his birth weight by 3 months, and tripled it by 6 months. At his 1 year check up he was 33 lbs, and was off the chart for both height and weight. The doctor said he was the biggest baby he had ever seen. Today, he is 18 years old, 6'5" tall and 190 lbs. He's lean, strong, happy and healthy. Report
Wow. Man that is sad. I guess then that for sure one of my four kids would have been denied coverage. My eldest was 9 lbs 15 1/2 oz at birth and almost 22 inches long. I always round it up to 10 lbs because half an oz is so small. He was my largest baby at birth. Never have I heard a doctor say he was too big. Once he started being mobile he ran it all off and just this school year had to stop wearing slim pants and he's in the 7th grade. My second was 8 lbs 1 oz, third was 9 lbs 6 oz and fourth was 8 lbs 9 oz. My eldest was straight formula fed. I breastfed the last three. The last three never got as chunky as #1 when they were babies either. To label babies obese at 4 months is crazy. I mean if that's the case then my first child should be obese now and he's not. Not great logic there.
This is ridiculous. It isn't like the child is munching junk food all day. All three of my babies were over 9 lbs. at birth, continued to be at the 95+ percentile until they reached school age. They all three were average height and weight from about the age of 5, and are all three very healthy teens & young adults. Not one of them had more than the typical colds, etc. as children. Branding a baby obese is absurd. Report
Where is the person this happened to? IF this is true, it's very sad. IMO, it could be just another example of the fear tactics used to promote Obamacare. I seriously question these tactics and I have bigger doubts that the feds could run a health care program better than private corps. People are screaming the insurance co's are crooks, do these people think the government is any better?

IMO the biggest issue here is that someone's medical history became public information. Report
Wow!! That is just plain SAD when an insurance company would deny a BABY health insurance based on what THEY think is healthy. THey should have consulted the doctor first. how sad. But very glad to hear they corrected their problem. Parents have enough to worry about, w/o having to concern themselves w/ if their baby grows faster than others. Every child is different & should be treated as such. Across the board stanards for adults is 1 thing, but for children under 5.... get real. Report
Both of my daughters were over 9 lbs at birth and at the highest percentiles for weight in their first 2 years. My oldest is now 9 and weighs only 60 pounds - she's a strong, lean, athletic girl. My youngest is five is also starting to lose that baby fat, same way her sister did.
Our pediatrician NEVER said our kids were obese. He said they were fine, despite an obviously obese mom.
We have free education in America, we should make basic health checkups for kids free, too. Report
unbelievable. My oldest daughter, who is 4 has always been 95% in both height and weight. She was 8lb 15oz and 21 1/2" when she was born and has been that way ever since. When she was 3 she could easily pass for 4 and now that she is 4 she could pass for a 5 yr old no prob. According to child bmi, she is at weight to be overweight, because of her age and weight. They don't take into account her height. Now our younger daughter eats far more than our older ever did, and more variety, but she is a lot smaller, so some kids are just like that, and at that young they should not be label obese or overweight, no one knows what they will end up being later, as long as your kid is active. Report
My son was 10 pounds at a week early. He is now almost 40 pounds at 3 years old. The doctor told me that we should be keeping an eye on what he eats because he is in the obese category and there is a correlation between obesity in childhood and adulthood. I laughed at her and said "he was born that way". Even though I laughed, I have now become aware of his eating habits and worry. My husband is 6'3" and was chunky as a child, so I just assume my son will be the same. I believe this is crazy talk and there is no reason I should be worried. He is three and active and I feed him well. What a world. Report
wow that is crazy!! this isnt about insurance but i thought i would share my story.....i had been recieving WIC and when my son turned 2, the people at the WIC clinic said he was obese and needed to be put on a diet. they were so harsh that i left balling and made a doctors appointment for him. my doctor said that he was above average in height and even if he was a little chubby he wasnt obese. she was furious with what the WIC clinic told me. i never went back to that place after that. hes 4 now, and has thinned out alot. Report
WOW~!!!!!!!!!.... my daughter weighed 6 pounds at birth at her 1mo check up she weighed 7 at 4 mos she weighed 10 pounds.... she was less then 5 percentile for wt and 95 percentile for ht. she finally at age 4 hit 20 percentile for wt. My doctor never seemed concerned that she she was only gaining 1 pound a month even after she was a year old. Her sister also weighed in at 6 pounds at birth she weighed 14 pounds at 3 mos. she was in 75 percentile for wt and 50 percentile for ht. Have we become so weight conscious that we are missing the bigger picture? HEALTH. when my daughters turned 2 yrs old we put them on skim milk- the doctor told me no!!! they need the calories and fat and there is no reason to use skim milk unless there is known heart disease in a family..... I looked at him as if he had grown a 3rd head... my girls are adopted and we have no medical hx. of birth mom. he grinned and said oh yeah right then its fine. both my girls are out door players, limited TV watchers, learning healthy choices for snacks vs unhealthy isn't what we teach our children important?
SO.... WHY is it OK for insurance companies to tell us what we need to weigh? what if that poor little baby actually had a syndrome that caused excessive wt gain? downs? or some other chromosomal defect? NOW since his coverage is denied his parents will never know? wow~!!!! and this is all ok all in the name of "healthy weight". Report
No one under the age of 18 should be denied coverage for any reason at all. That poor family. What if their baby got really sick and they had no coverage because the baby was "overweight"? It is wrong to put labels like that on children who can't even walk or crawl. What kind of world do we live in? Report
My very chubby baby son, has now grown really tall and super skinny at age 6. In fact his doctor commented he is slightly underweight. My chubby daughter at age 4 is a now a normal height and weight. My youngest daughter was super chubby as a baby in now thinning out and growning tall. I miss her baby fat :( BTW my son was around 20 pounds at 4 months and has always been off the charts for growth. Report
How about insurance companies provide a service that their customers purchased? I think that's a good idea.
Also, companies should have an ethical standard. Report
Oh, well, gee, he's 4 months old, put him on the treadmill! Oh right....can't walk yet....

First of all, NO ONE should be denied insurance coverage. One of the few good things about my state is that I'm fairly certain that is illegal (they will just charge you an arm and a leg.) Second, a 4 month old baby cannot be put on a diet. If you feed them less than what they should be getting, it will restrict their growth and development. Telling someone their infant is too fat to insure is just ridiculous. Report
C'mon! These insurance companies are really over the top with their weird suggestions! Report
A prime example of how far our government and the insurance companies will go to control us. How cruel, insane, ridiculous. And don't forget infuriating! Report
I think any adult (and that includes the parent(s)) that try and put a baby on a diet and restrict any food from them are wrong...babies/children need food to grown and develop the right way Report
Upsetting to say the least, a child should not be labled as obese at such a young age. Report
Complete and total rubbish. I do not believe that a 4mo can be obese. That is a health condition that is just not appropriate for someone that young. Report
My son is almost 5 and he is 50lbs and over 46". He is solid and not fat, no rolls, just thick. He has always been in the 90+% and is actually off the charts now, I believe. He was born 7.5 pounds 3.5 weeks early and has been growing in proportion his entire life. That is important. Say one month a baby's weight is in the 90% and height in the 90%. The next month it is 95% and 90% and the next 98% and 90%. That is a sign that something is up. People need to look at the whole picture before labeling kids fat.

I agree with what JCEDIT89 says. Those charts are flawed. You will know if there is something up with your kid. Give them healthy foods, let them out to play, put them to bed at a decent hour, and love them as they are. I used to be so concerned about how big my oldest was but not anymore. We take an active role in his life and know that if we are offering him the right foods and plenty of opportunities for play (exercise), he will be set with a healthy outlook for life. Same goes for my other 2. Report
I'd like to get a look at the board members who made up this "rule", if any of them are overweight, they should be let go immediately................... Report
That is crazy and cruel! Report
Wow, that's unbelieveable. I've never heard anything so unbelieveable. Ok maybe I have, but this is crazy. Report
UNBELIEVABLE!!! What is wrong with our country anymore; like a 4-month old has been overeating. There are some people who just aren't wired right! Report
If my kid was in the 99th percentile for weight I would probably be concerned. I wouldn't do anything drastic, but I would definitely want to monitor that- when you have a baby you want them to be normal, not special! Report
Just wow. Labeling a baby obese at 4 months. Its not like they can do much to get the weight off. They need that weight right then. Its going to melt off once they start walking and crawling. And what are they really eating? Breast Milk? Formula? Its not like older kids who are eating junk food all day and can run around and exercise. These insurance companies need to be kept in check sometimes. And I don't get how insurance can not cover pre existing conditions in babies as one poster said above. That in itself should be illegal. So I say no, no baby should be denied insurance for being obese. I also feel no person should be denied it either. If they feel you are obese as an adult, then they should offer programs to get you healthier, and compliance would warrant a discount on your premiums or something like that. If they promote healthier living, the amount of money they pay out as a company would be less. I dunno. I'm just ranting now. Report
I strongly believe no one should be denied insurance coverage. It always seems like the people denied insurance (who often have "pre-existing conditions") are the ones who most need it! I do, however, think that the weight of a child should be monitored by the parent and doctor once they are eating foods. But honestly, don't see how it can be a real issue if a baby is only consuming breast milk and is still an infant. I worry more about the two year olds who are given junk food and kool aid. Report
No that is completly stupid I think Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the worst insurance ever If a child is born with something wrong they do not cover even if you have been coverd for years. Been waiting a long time to get this off my chest thank you for this blog. Report
That's totally, completely crazy. Obesity a pre-existing condition for babies? I want to see laws governing what these crooks can get away with. That should be illegal. Everything these days is a "pre-existing condition", but this tops the list of the most insane. Report
baby killers? nice. not. Report
Seriously?? That is crazy!!
I can't even find the words to comment on that. Report
NO, this is absurd that they will deny fat babies. but cover babies with drug and alcohol addiction which use up more of the health care resources. Report
This is a really sad story. Usually when someone can't afford something they hold off as long as they can. I wonder how many babies have died because their parents couldn't afford to get them medical care when needed? Report
This is absolutely rediculous!! The insurance company should be closed just for stupidity if they are denying a baby coverage I can imagine they are denying many others too!! All of my babies were breast fed and got very chubby quickly after birth, of course then they leveled out began crawling and walking and are all healthy weight children now!! I do not believe there is any link between baby weight and obesity however when a child is 2-3 and beyond and overweight that is another story. Though you do need to take height into account also my girls are both very tall so they are higher in weight but yet still skinny personally I think you can look at a child and see if they are overweight or not!! Report
"One more thing...what is the mother supposed to do? Not feed the baby? Then she ends up in jail for malnourishing her child?

This is pure foolishness. I can't even believe it made it this far. "

Exactly!!! You can't just not feed the baby, you have to let the babies eat as they want nature knows what it is doing in infants and newborns, it all evens out when the kids begin to crawl and walk. You do not want parents going to the other extreme and not feeding the infants for fear of having an obese kid or kid with a wieght problem! Infancy is too young to tell about a kid's future weight. Babies are supposed to be chubby and healthy! Report
"This is so ridiculous and makes me furious no matter how many times I hear it. My daughter was 8lbs 11oz and 2 weeks late. My son was 9lbs. 14 oz. and had a huge head on his due date! They are both very tall and for quite a while were at the top of their charts. They are 9 and 11 now and neither is obese. In fact, my son is extremely thin. What is wrong with these insurance companies? I wish there was something we could do because this is not right. People come in all shapes and sizes and I don't believe that God makes mistakes. Babies come in all different sizes too and none of them should be denied any insurance coverage. Another reason I hate insurance companies these days. "

I totally agree! My sister's son was a fat little baby he was sooooo chubby and cute but once he started walking and running and playing his weight leveled off and he became thin and was a non eater type kid or picky eater! You can't judge a baby as having a wieght problem when younger than 1 or 2 years old because some babies are just born bigger to begin with especially boys. Only babies who are the extreme like weigh 60 pounds at 6 months old or something really obsurd like that should actually be labeled as obese or overweight. But normal babies who may be chubby don't really count as overweight because that's how babies grow. They eat and get chubby till they start walking and running and playing then it levels off. Only when a kid continues to get chubbier or remain chubby past 2 or 3 years old would I say a parent should begin to try to moniter and limit what kinds of foods they eat and make sure they get healtheir foods. But infancy is too young and too early to worry about a kid being overweight or not. The same way that some infants are just naturally thin and smaller and may not have the chubby baby look is not anything to really worry about as long as they are healthy. Infancy is too young and not really a true indicater of a child's future weight. I met a little petite thin 100 pound lady I worked with who told me she weighed 10 pounds at birth! LOL! You just can't go by how an infant looks to determine wieght issues unless you are talking extremes like 60 pound 6month olds. Report
I think it's totally wrong to even label babies under 1 or 2 years old as obese or overweight because it's normal for babies to have baby fat, that's why it's called baby fat! I do think people can go overboard and get too extreme with the childhood obesity thing! And that is just going too far labeling an infant as obese! Okay a 6 month old that weighs 120 pounds is obese but for infants who are not in the extreme like that, there's no need to focus so much on the kid's weight because most babies do have baby fat and they grow out of it by the time they are like 1 or 2 years old and begin walking, running and playing. It's just how babies grow. Report
This is so ridiculous and makes me furious no matter how many times I hear it. My daughter was 8lbs 11oz and 2 weeks late. My son was 9lbs. 14 oz. and had a huge head on his due date! They are both very tall and for quite a while were at the top of their charts. They are 9 and 11 now and neither is obese. In fact, my son is extremely thin. What is wrong with these insurance companies? I wish there was something we could do because this is not right. People come in all shapes and sizes and I don't believe that God makes mistakes. Babies come in all different sizes too and none of them should be denied any insurance coverage. Another reason I hate insurance companies these days. Report
This is so insane, it is not worth commenting on! I am an OB nurse, nuf said! Report
This insurance company's practice should place them in everyone's mind as a company which they should vote against for their company. Further, their name should be forwarded to everyone you know so that the company's they own or work for will be made aware of the reason for their 'comparative' rates. Put these companies out of biz , is my motto!!! Take the economy back, you have the power-- further this company is actually rated as not-for=profit from their website -- this rating should be denied these creeps. here's the website propaganda: Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP) is an independent, not-for-profit health benefits provider that has served the health care needs of Coloradans for more than 30 years.
Yes -- they actually said SERVED even more ridiculous -- the company supposedly has values - here's one : We are respectful, compassionate, and fair. --- Compassionate ??? to a 4 month old??? Report
I cannot believe this is even a question!!!! We have people asking the question if ILLEGAL immigrants should have rights and benefits and they want to not give a poor baby ins. coverage????????? If they have ins. that shouldn't even be a question. I am apalled!! Report
My daughter was 9 lbs. 9 oz. (born on due date) and my son was 11 lbs. 6 oz. (born 10 days early), obviously very large babies (I had c-sections, don't worry) children are still huge...tall rather than daughter is 3 1/2 now and wear's small and medium big girl's clothes because she's so son now 14 months wears 2T and 3T clothes and ranges in the 97th and 99th percentile for height and weight, but that's normal for my kids...I can't believe anyone would consider them obese because of where they range on a "normal scale." I was a big baby 9lbs. 8oz. and my mom as well...I guess it just runs in the family. Both my children were running and walking by 7 months. They did everything early. I hate insurance companies thank god my kids have medicaid. Report
No, it's wrong, wrong, WRONG! My oldest son weighed 9 lbs 8 oz at birth and he was born 2 weeks early (yes, I probably had gestational diabetes as I did with my next two pregnancies) From the time he was born he was off the charts for both height and weight. Only when he was in high school was he considered average height and weight. He was a healthy 1 year old in 5T clothes and he is a healthy, average weight athlete at age 20.

Bah humbug to insurance companies, whose only true concern is the bottom dollar! Report
Both my babies were 8#, and both naturally fed on demand. They thrived. They were both very active, but my daughter particularly so. She was picking her oversized off-the-charts head up and looking around before we left the hospital. When most kids are working on rolling over, she had learned to rapid-roll her way around the room. She was carpet-swimming by 4 months, and solidly on her feet walking and running by 9 months. She never stopped moving. The more active she became, the more she dropped on the weight chart. Her height remained in the 60th percentile, and she was healthy and intelligent, but tiny. I was a little concerned, though, for her 1-year checkup, when she STILL hadn't doubled her birth weight(!). Her doc said "Some kids spend their calories growing. Your daughter spends hers running around my office. She's fine" She was fine. And as a young adult, she hasn't changed.

I was 6# even at birth, and slender throughout my childhood and young adulthood. Look at where I am now.

Shows what you can tell at 4 mos. Report
That's terrible, or course no baby or child should should be denied coverage.
My middle son who is now 6ft 7" was born just 7lbs 8.5 oz - And fully breast fed at 3 months was the "fattest - Hungryest baby" my child health nurse had ever seen!! But not only did he have a lot of growing to do, His first needle at 3 months old he had a terrible reaction to the whooping cough vaccine and lost half his body weight while in hospital!! His baby body fat actually may have saved his life!
Health insurance companies are not charities, they are businesses. The function of business is to maximize profits through maximizing revenue and minimizing expenses. As long as for profit companies are running health care expect them to charge as much as they can, avoid insuring anyone they think they will loose money on, and paying out as little as possible by denying claims. Report
My son was 10' 7 1/2 oz at birth. He's now 6'5 and weighs about 170lb - skinny! Insurance companies should take into account age and height. My son was never on the charts for height or weight, but he did follow the "right curve". Professionals should be trying to help parents learn about healthy eating, but realize we do come in all shapes and sizes. Report
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