Division of Insurance Ready to Assist on Child-Only Health Policies in Colorado

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Division of Insurance Ready to Assist on Child-Only Health Policies in Colorado

this is a very important press release by DORA…The article can be found at this link.

http://www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/pr/2010MediaReleases/newsReadyAssistChildOnlyPolicies100610.pdf

As of September 23, Federal law prohibits insurance carriers from denying coverage to children based on preexisting
conditions. Rather than offer “child-only” policies to both well children and children who have pre-existing
conditions, some insurance carriers opted to stop offering new policies to any child.
“Many of these children do not have life threatening conditions, but their families want to take responsibility for
their health coverage,” Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison said. “We want these children and their families
to have the choices they need.”
The Division of Insurance passed an emergency regulation on September 22, establishing specific enrollment
periods for all carriers offering “child-only” policies. “We heard from some carriers who felt parents might wait to
enroll children until there was a medical need, which can increase financial risk for carriers. By creating uniform
enrollment periods for all carriers, we intended to spread the risk across companies,” Morrison said.
A “child-only” policy means there is no adult on the individual policy. There can be many scenarios for this type of
policy: the parents may be insured through an employer-sponsored plan which does not offer dependent
coverage; the parent(s) may have medical conditions themselves and be covered by a high-risk pool, such as
CoverColorado; or the family may not be able to afford coverage for all members, and is seeking coverage for the
children only. Life events such as divorce or job loss may also affect insurance coverage.
Current Colorado law does not require companies who offer family health coverage to also offer “child-only”
policies. “The carriers are allowed to choose which policies to offer in Colorado,” Morrison said.
So far, the Division has heard from just two companies, Kaiser Permanente and Rocky Mountain Health Plans
(based in Grand Junction), who said they will continue to offer the plans. “If there are others out there who still
plan to offer these child-only policies, we’d like to hear about it, so we can refer consumers to them,” Morrison
said. Carriers are not required to notify the Division of Insurance when they stop or start marketing a specific
plan, so nobody is certain how many companies are still offering “child-only” policies in Colorado.
The Division of Insurance has received calls from consumers looking for “child-only” policies when the change in
law was announced.
“Parents have told us there are few options to get coverage for their kids,” Morrison said. “We are seeking
resolutions that will address the industry’s concerns, but allow families to get children
covered.”

As of September 23, Federal law prohibits insurance carriers from denying coverage to children based on preexistingconditions. Rather than offer “child-only” policies to both well children and children who have pre-existingconditions, some insurance carriers opted to stop offering new policies to any child.“Many of these children do not have life threatening conditions, but their families want to take responsibility fortheir health coverage,” Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison said. “We want these children and their familiesto have the choices they need.”The Division of Insurance passed an emergency regulation on September 22, establishing specific enrollmentperiods for all carriers offering “child-only” policies. “We heard from some carriers who felt parents might wait toenroll children until there was a medical need, which can increase financial risk for carriers. By creating uniformenrollment periods for all carriers, we intended to spread the risk across companies,” Morrison said.A “child-only” policy means there is no adult on the individual policy. There can be many scenarios for this type ofpolicy: the parents may be insured through an employer-sponsored plan which does not offer dependentcoverage; the parent(s) may have medical conditions themselves and be covered by a high-risk pool, such asCoverColorado; or the family may not be able to afford coverage for all members, and is seeking coverage for thechildren only. Life events such as divorce or job loss may also affect insurance coverage.Current Colorado law does not require companies who offer family health coverage to also offer “child-only”policies. “The carriers are allowed to choose which policies to offer in Colorado,” Morrison said.So far, the Division has heard from just two companies, Kaiser Permanente and Rocky Mountain Health Plans(based in Grand Junction), who said they will continue to offer the plans. “If there are others out there who stillplan to offer these child-only policies, we’d like to hear about it, so we can refer consumers to them,” Morrisonsaid. Carriers are not required to notify the Division of Insurance when they stop or start marketing a specificplan, so nobody is certain how many companies are still offering “child-only” policies in Colorado.The Division of Insurance has received calls from consumers looking for “child-only” policies when the change inlaw was announced.“Parents have told us there are few options to get coverage for their kids,” Morrison said. “We are seekingresolutions that will address the industry’s concerns, but allow families to get children covered.”

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