Where can I find health insurance for my kids?
If you’ve followed things over the past few years, you’ll know that “child-only” health insurance coverage for your kids are pretty hard to find these days. It isn’t quite as hard to find as it used to be, however.
In 2012, we highlighted specific states where child-only health insurance coverage was available at least at certain times of the year or in certain circumstances. It’s time for an update, and that’s what we’ve got to help you to find health insurance for your kids.
Before we do that, however, here’s a brief summary of the situation:
So-called “child-only” plans are health insurance policies in which no parent or guardian is covered and the policyholder is age 18 or younger. The health reform law made it impossible for insurers to decline coverage for people age 18 and younger. However, the concern that parents could delay purchasing coverage for children until they got sick led some health insurance companies to stop offering child-only plans.
In response, certain states and insurance companies have designated “open enrollment” periods for child-only health insurance plans – specific annual or biannual enrollment windows when parents or guardians can enroll children in their own individual health insurance plans without danger of being declined due to their medical history. In some states, child-only health insurance coverage is available year-round.
While the data collected above provides some guidance for consumers in states where child-only coverage is available, rules affecting consumers in specific states and with specific health insurance companies may vary.
- In some states, child-only health insurance plans may be obtained both through licensed agents and the insurance company, while in other states they may only be obtained by applying directly through the health insurance company.
- A qualifying event (such as birth or adoption, the death of a parent, the loss of employer-sponsored coverage, etc.) may be required in some states to qualify for child-only health insurance outside an open enrollment period.
- Some states allow insurers to charge child-only applicants with pre-existing medical conditions higher rates than those without pre-existing medical conditions.
- Insurance companies in some states may be allowed to add a surcharge to the monthly premium for applicants who were previously uninsured.
- In some states, insurers have opted on their own to accept child-only applications year-round while others may choose not to offer child-only policies at all.