Officials, Advocates Tout Open-Enrollment Period for Children’s Coverage
State officials and health care advocates in California are trying to make sure parents know about a new state law that lets them select health insurance policiesÂ for their children, even if they have pre-existing conditions, the Ventura County Star reports (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 2/12).
The law (AB 2244), by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles),Â allows parents to apply for coverage during an open-enrollment period that started on Jan. 1 and runs until March 1.
In September 2010, a number of insurers in the state ceased sales of individual policies for children, avoiding a provision in the federal health reform law that requires them to cover individuals younger than age 19, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.
The insurers argued that covering many sick children would result inÂ large and unexpected costs, especially if their competitors left the market.
The new law prohibits insurance companies that do not accept children from selling new policies in the larger individual insurance market for five years, which would cut insurers' profits significantly (California Healthline, 1/3).
The law also stipulates that premiums for children with pre-existing conditions who are enrolled during the open-enrollment period cannot be more than twice the standard rate.
Missing the Window
If parents miss the enrollment window that ends on March 1, they can enroll in policies with the same price controls during the month after a child's birthday.
In addition, the price controls would be made available following certain events, such as if parents are laid off or if they lose health care coverage (Ventura County Star, 2/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.