No new policies for California insurers that abandon child-only coverage

A new California law prohibits insurers that abandon child-only coverage from selling new policies in the broader individual insurance market for five years.

Since the law was issued, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, Health Net and UnitedHealth Group said they would resume sales of child-only coverage Jan. 1, when the law went into effect, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Insurers previously halted the sale of individual policies for kids in September rather than comply with provisions of the health reform law that required them to accept all children under age 19 regardless of their medical conditions.

"I'm going to be closely monitoring the actions of the insurers to ensure they're complying with this law, and I'm hopeful they will," Insurance Commissioner-elect Dave Jones told the San Francisco Gate.

The California Department of Insurance has been trying to prod insurers to start selling child-only policies since they announced their departure. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner sent the companies two pages of guidance, clarifying that AB 2244 requires them to offer children's coverage as part of all their policies, not just a select few. Additionally, parents must apply for the insurance during a two-month open enrollment period that runs from Jan. 1 to March 1, or in the month after their children's birthdays. Families with sick children that apply during these periods can be charged no more than twice the standard rate.

To learn more:
- read the Los Angeles Times story
- check out the San Francisco Gate article
- see the Department of Insurance guidance

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