Just a reminder: Washington State’s open enrollment period for child-only health insurance opens today and will end on April 30th. All signs point towards health insurance premiums going up on May 1st, so if you have a child and are looking for a child-only health insurance policy for him or her, the time to act is now!
Although health insurers are required to offer health insurance to children with pre-existing conditions under healthcare reform, the State of Washington softend 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 from March 15th to April 30th and September 15th to October 31st. 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 the birth or adoption of a child or if a child or the parent:• Is no longer eligible for a state program.
• Loses health insurance coverage due to a divorce.
• Loses employer-sponsored health insurance coverage (including COBRA).
• Moves and their health insurance plan is not available where they now live.
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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