Many states are adopting special open-enrollment periods in an effort to keep new Affordable Care Act rules from chasing carriers from the child-only health insurance market.
The states are setting up the child-only open-enrollment periods in response to provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a major component of the Affordable Care Act, that prohibit carriers that offer child-only coverage from considering pre-existing conditions when deciding whether to sell health coverage to a child.
The provisions are taking effect for health insurance and health plan years starting on or after Sept. 23.
Insurers have warned that letting parents of children with health problems sign up for coverage at any time, without any regard to health status, could lead to severe antiselection, by encouraging parents to pay for coverage when and only when children are sick.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have indicated that they are open to the idea of letting states use scheduled open-enrollment periods to put all child-only carriers on a level playing field and increase the odds that parents will pay for coverage all year round.
Colorado recently announced that it was creating an open-enrollment schedule in an effort to keep carriers in the child-only market.
Indiana, Ohio and Washington state are some of the other states that have
set up child-only coverage open-enrollment programs.
Indiana is letting carriers choose start dates for their open-enrollment periods. Each must offer an open-enrollment period that lasts for at least 30 days.