Action Line: State acts to revive child-only insurance plans
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Friday, February 24, 2012
2/24/12 at 4:26 AM
Dear Action Line: What is the "open enrollment period for child-only health insurance?" – M.O., Tulsa.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak issued a letter headed "Open enrollment period for child-only coverage: Jan. 1 through Feb. 29, 2012.
"As you all know, implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act caused carriers to cease offering child-only health insurance. Although the Oklahoma Insurance Department enacted a child-only health insurance rule last summer, carriers continue to voice serious concerns about re-entering the child-only market. As a result, the rule has been modified. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the modified rule on Dec. 5. (OAC 365:10-1-15)," the letter states. See OID's "legal statutes" addressing this at tulsaworld.com/OIDstatutes
The reason for this message is to make you aware that the modified rule creates an open enrollment opportunity, for 2012 only, from Jan. 1 through Feb. 29, 2012. The Oklahoma Insurance Department is confident that, pursuant to the modified rule, carriers will once again begin offering coverage in the child-only market and we encourage you to contact your insurance agent to find the carriers that will participate in this upcoming opportunity.
The modified rule allows carriers to impose non-health related eligibility rules, such as age limits. Your insurance agent can help you understand a carrier's underwriting rules.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department has a 5-page booklet on this titled "Media Guide to Child-Only Health Insurance," at tulsaworld.com/ChildOnlyHealthIns
Gov. Fallin signed Emergency Rule 365:10-1-15 restoring the child-only health insurance market for the vast majority of Oklahoma youths whose parents or guardians wish to purchase new policies for kids not covered by family plans or SoonerCare tulsaworld.com/OIDSoonerCare
The federal PPACA signed by President Barack Obama March 23, 2010, created conditions that killed the child-only insurance market in Oklahoma and at least 16 other states, where every health insurance company stopped selling new policies for individual children. It crippled the markets in another 22 states, where at least one insurance company and potentially several ceased doing business in this segment of the market.
All child-only policies already in force remained in force, so all children who were covered before the passage of PPACA remained covered. Uninsured children of all ages could still get new insurance under a family policy. Children who qualify for SoonerCare were unaffected. But for at least 15 months prior to the passage of Emergency Rule 365:10-1-15 there has been zero market for parents or guardians who wish to purchase new individual insurance for a child younger than 19.
These children are a small segment of the Oklahoma insurance market – by most estimates fewer than 4 percent of children in the state – but they are citizens that Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak and the Oklahoma Insurance Department are determined to see served. Since taking office on Jan. 10, 2011, Commissioner Doak and OID personnel have worked on a problem they inherited.
Original Print Headline: State acts to revive child-only insurance plans
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