Too Fat for Health Insurance? At Four Months?

'Obese' infant Alex Lange finally gets coverage after review.

Denver, Oct. 12, 2009 — -- A Colorado insurance company, citing "flaws" in its system, has now agreed to provide health coverage to a baby it previously said was too fat to qualify.

The family of 4-month-old Alex Lange had health insurance with another company, but with rising premiums, Alex's father, Bernie Lange, tried last week to get cheaper coverage through Grand-Junction-based Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

"My insurance broker called me last week and said, 'we can cover you, but your baby is apparently too fat,'" Lange told ABC News.

Baby Alex, who is 25 inches long and weighs about 17 pounds, falls into the 99th percentile for height and weight for his age, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Rocky Mountain Health Plans insurance underwriters used those guidelines to deny coverage for Alex since he was above the 95th percentile, saying he had a "pre-existing condition" of obesity.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans today said it had reviewed its own policy and found itself asking a basic question.

"Should we be denying coverage for healthy babies just because they are above the 95th percentile?" said Kayla Arnesen, spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Health Plans. "It doesn't make good sense, it doesn't make good policy, and we're not going to do it."

The company said it will now provide health insurance coverage for healthy infants regardless of weight.