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Life Health > Health Insurance > Life Insurance Strategies

Spitzer Weighs In On Adoptee Health Coverage

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The New York attorney general’s office has announced an intervention in the insurance industry for the second day in a row.

Officials in the office say they have persuaded Oxford Health Plans, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., to enroll members’ adopted children in the members’ health plans as soon as the children become dependents, regardless of whether the children live in the United States.

“New York law is clear,” New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer says in a statement. “Health plans cannot discriminate between adopted and biological children and must allow enrollment when the child becomes a dependent of the plan member.”

Spitzer, who is running for governor in New York, announced Thursday that he had filed a suit in connection with allegations of bid-rigging in the life settlement market.

Oxford has cooperated with the adoption coverage inquiry and has agreed to remedy any previously mistaken enrollment procedures, officials say.

Spitzer’s office began looking at coverage for adopted children when it received complaints from Oxford members who were adopting children from China, officials say.

The complaining members had family coverage that would have provided emergency and urgent care coverage outside the United States if the children had been enrolled in the parents’ plans, officials say.

New York law prohibits insurers and health plans from denying a child enrollment in a family policy on the grounds that the child does not reside with the parent or in the plan’s service area, and it also provides that coverage for children who are adopted is effective no later than the date on which the child becomes a dependent, officials say.

But officials note that parents may still have to buy supplemental health insurance for adopted children living in other countries if their health plans do not offer coverage for care received outside the United States.


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