'Obese' 4-Month-Old Denied Insurance

Nursing infant outside norms for age; 'absurd,' cry parents
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2009 2:04 PM CDT
A baby is weighed in Haiti.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Colorado couple is baffled that their baby has been denied health insurance coverage because of a preexisting condition: obesity. “I could understand if we could control what he's eating,” says the boy’s father. “But he's 4 months old. He's breast-feeding. We can't put him on the Atkins diet.” An insurance company exec understands the consternation but tells the Denver Post there’s nothing he can do. “Everybody else in the industry does it.”

Under company rules, individuals who place outside certain norms can’t be covered. Alex Lange is as big as a 9-month-old, in the 99th percentile for both height and weight, well above the 95th percentile cut-off. “If health care reform occurs, underwriting will go away,” the insurance exec says. That’s cold comfort for Alex’s parents, who are both slender and imagine he will be, too, once he starts crawling. “There is just something absurd about denying an infant,” dad says. (Read more baby stories.)