Friday, July 23, 2010

Think your kids will be covered under Obamacare;think again;new policies not accepted-want open enrollment period

Insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare are not issuing new policies for children because they want the federal government to require an open enrollment period so that parents can't wait until an illness or tragedy happens to get insurance.

Under Obamacare insurance companies are required to take anyone with a pre-existing condition or not,but insurance companies feel people will not purchase insurance until they need it leaving the insurance companies with most of the expenses to cover the medical care while the patient/family hasn't put any money into the insurance.

I see this raising rates of insurance for everyone, but also bad business for insurance companies who have to make a profit to cover insurance expenses. If people aren't paying into the system, the insurance companies will have to raise the rates on those who are paying in order to cover the ones who wait until they get ill.

Amplify’d from

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some major health insurance companies have stopped issuing certain types of policies for children, an unintended consequence of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, state officials said Friday.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in his state UnitedHealthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield have stopped issuing new policies that cover children individually. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland said a couple of local insurers in her state have done likewise.

The administration reacted sharply to the insurance pullback. "We're disappointed that a small number of insurance companies are taking this unwarranted and unnecessary step," said Jessica Santillo, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services department.

Starting later this year, the health care overhaul law requires insurers to accept children regardless of medical problems -- a major early benefit of the complex legislation. Insurers are worried that parents will wait until kids get sick to sign them up, saddling the companies with unpredictable costs.

The major types of coverage for children -- employer plans and government programs -- are not be affected by the disruption. But a subset of policies -- those that cover children as individuals -- may run into problems. Even so, insurers are not canceling children's coverage already issued, but refusing to write new policies.

"Our plans are very concerned about this," said Alissa Fox, a top Washington lobbyist for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. "If the law says that insurers have to take you any time, any place, some people will see that as an opportunity to wait until their children get sick to buy coverage."

To get around the problem, insurance companies and state insurance commissioners are pressing the federal government to require an open enrollment period for the guaranteed children's coverage.

Parents could only get the guaranteed coverage during a designated month each year, or if the family went through a major change, such as a divorce or a parent losing their job. Open enrollment periods are standard for most employer health plans, and some government programs.

State insurance commissioners have brought the problem to the attention of the Obama administration. "We are attempting to convince (federal officials) that this is a serious enough concern to work with (insurers) to give them some relief," Holland said.

Final regulations for the new children's coverage are due before Sept. 23. The requirement to cover kids with pre-existing medical problems will apply to new plans starting after that date.


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