If you live in Colorado and are trying to find health insurance for your children, a BIG head’s up. Enrollment for child-only health insurance opens next week, and you don’t want to miss it.
Although health insurers are required to offer health insurance to children with pre-existing conditions under healthcare reform, the State of Colorado has softened the blow by adopting rules which allow health insurers to limit enrollment in child-only health insurance plans to specified open enrollment periods. Generally, health insurers will only be required to accept child-only health insurance enrollment during designated open enrollment periods, one of which is August of this year. During these times, children under age 19 do not have to complete a health questionnaire and cannot be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Families can also apply to buy health insurance for their children after a “qualifying event” such as birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, or court-ordered coverage. Other qualifying events include loss of group health insurnace coverage, loss of eligibility for state sponsored health plans, or involuntary loss of individual coverage.
If you sign up your child during August, coverage will start Oct. 1, 30 days after open enrollment ends.
Under healthcare reform, health insurers are now prohibited from refusing to cover children with pre-existing conditions, and many health insurers have expressed concern that parents will sign their children up for health insurance for short-periods of when they become sick. If health insurers are required to cover these sick children in child-only policies, child-only health insurance becomes a much less profitable proposition for health insurers. As a result, a number of health insurers started leaving the child-only health insurance market, and health insurers such as Aetna Life Insurance Co., Anthem, Cigna Corp., Health Net, and United Healthcare only reluctantly returned to selling child-only health insurance policies in states which agreed to institute open enrollment periods.
Although it is estimated that child-only health insurance policies make up only 2-5% of the health insurance market, it can be vitally important to self-employed Americans. Although most children receive health insurance through a parent’s health insurance policy, self-employed Americans turn to child-only policy in order to provide health insurance coverage for their children, even when they are unable to purchase health insurance for themselves.
Do you cover your child(ren) through a child-only health insurance policy? Tell us about it!
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