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Massachusetts Health Insurance Plans Providing Seats

February 4, 2010 2 comments

As of 7/20/2010, Here is a list of the Mass Health Plans that currently provide their members with free car seats. We ask all A Baby Center Clients to first try to obtain a seat from your Health Insurance Plan. Some of these plans can take 4 to 6 weeks to send you a seat, so please do this before your child has outgrown their current seat.

To apply for Mass Health – please go to the Mass Health Website.

There are four Mass Health Plans to choose from – BMC HealthNet, Fallon Community Health Plan, Neighborhood Health, and Network Health. Before picking a plan, make sure your doctor and your children’s doctor accept the plan. Once you are on a plan, be sure to check all the benefits you are eligible for. Each of these plans has a car seat program.

Boston Medical Center HealthNet: Call the member number on the back of your card or 1-888-566-0010. BMC HealthNet currently supplies parents with a Convertible  car seat only. You will most likely receive an Evenflo Titan 50 or an Evenflo Tribute Convertible. The convertible car seats can be used for babies 5lbs and up. If your baby is premature, please contact BMC Healthnet for information on how to receive a special seat for children under 5lbs or having difficulty breathing – a doctor must be available to prescribe a specific specialty seat.

Fallon Community Health Plan: Provides either a carseat OR a breastpump through their “Oh Baby” program – but not both. Fallon will give you a Graco Comfortsport Convertible Carseat. Contact their Customer Service to put in a request at 1-800-341-4848 (TDD/TTY: 1-877-608-7677) or email contactcustomerservice@fchp.org.

Neighborhood Health Plan: Receive a free infant car seat (convertible – not a seat with a handle) if you are 35 weeks or more pregnant. We’ll also provide a free booster seat. Limit one convertible car seat and one booster seat per member up through age 7. Please call the NHP Customer Care Center at 1-800-462-5449 or 1-800-655-1761 (TTY) for more information. Neighborhood Health Provides the Cosco Scenera and the Cosco Pronto High Back Booster.

Network Health: You are eligible for a $50 one time gift card to babies r us to use towards an infant or convertible car seat. Once the child has outgrown that seat, you are eligible for an additional $25 gift card to babies r us for a booster seat. Please contact Network Health at 1-888-257-1985 or use their on-line form to request your seat.

Rear Facing Convertible for babies 5 – 35lbs

Same seat as above, turned forward for a toddler (age 2+ after maxing out rear facing limits)

Currently, no plans are offering infant only seats (I call these “infant buckets” – these are the seats that have a base, and you remove from the car).  All the plans above are offering seats that can be used with newborns, however you leave the seat installed in the car and remove the child. If you are looking for an inexpensive infant bucket, try to find a Safety 1st Designer Infant Seat – it goes to 22lbs, has a front adjusting harness, and it allows for the handle to be left up while driving. I have seen them around cape between $55 – 75. Another seat to look for is the Evenflo Discovery, however this seat does adjust from the rear and the handle MUST be put behind the seat while driving. You can also look online at sites like http://www.albeebaby.com and http://www.babycatalog.com for reasonable priced infant seats.

Rear Facing Infant Only Seat (“Infant Bucket”) generally from 5 – 22lbs (check your manual as the weight/height range varies by model). This seat DOES NOT turn forward and should not be used with toddlers who are bigger then height/weight limits.

Do NOT buy a used seat at a yard sale or thrift store! You cannot verify the history of the seat. It’s ok to use a seat from a friend as long as you trust that the seat has never been in an accident, the seat does is not missing any pieces of have visual damage, the seat harness has never been submerged in water or washed with chemicals, the seat is not recalled, and the seat is not expired. It is far safer to use the convertible car seat provided by the Insurance companies then use an infant bucket with any of the issues above.

Many programs do not carry boosters either. The Cosco Pronto booster can be found for between $29 – 39 at local retail stores, but must be used with a head rest. The Graco Turbo Booster is between $39 – 49.

High-back Booster Seat for Children who are mature enough to sit with an adult belt and who have grown out of a harnessed seat by height or weight

Once you obtain your car seat from your insurance company, bring it over to A Baby Center on Tuesdays between 10 – 12 to make sure that you are using the seat correctly. 90% of the seats out there are not being used correctly.

Source of Photos: The Center for Injury Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

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