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The California Department of Insurance has asked IBA West members to remind consumers with uninsured children, there are new health care insurance coverage options available. Consumers can find more information at finder.healthcare.gov to search for coverage options.
The individual insurance market can be expensive, but the CDI reminds consumers that the new federal health care law requires that all children must be offered health coverage if they apply. Insurance companies can no longer deny kids coverage because of a "pre-existing condition" like asthma or diabetes.
Parents should be reminded to apply for coverage before March 1st to avoid higher costs. Once the "open enrollment period" ends on March 1st, the premium costs could be much higher since there are no limits on premiums outside the open enrollment period.
After March 1st, the next "open enrollment period" is the month your child was born. For example, if your child's birthday is August 8th, you can apply during the entire month of August, without facing significantly higher premiums. (There are other open enrollment periods based on changes in family circumstances such as a birth, divorce, job loss, or loss of public coverage.)
Also, the CDI recommends that parents keep their children insured to avoid higher costs. In some cases, parents could face a significant penalty premium increase (20 percent) if a child's coverage end and then apply again.
If a private insurance plan is unaffordable, California families can find coverage from Healthy Families and Medi-Cal. Children whose family income is less than approximately $46,000 annually (for a family of three - higher for larger families) maybe be eligible. For more information call 1-877-KIDS NOW or visit www.100percentcampaign.org/needinsurance/.