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Sick Kids the 1st Victims of Healthcare Reform Loopholes

healthcare reform, family health insurance

Is dropping child-only policies reform?

The passage of health care reform sounded good, even though we all knew there would be loopholes to exploit. How’s this for starters?

Just as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is set to go in effect, several major health insurance companies have announced they will no longer offer child-0nly policies. Why?

Because the new legislation makes it illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

This means families who opted for child-only policies, either because they couldn’t afford to cover the whole family or because the adults in the family were covered by some other policy, will have to purchase a policy that covers the entire family. Or figure out something else for the kids.

The companies say they will continue with current child-only policies. And, of course, they’ll have to cover children with pre-existing conditions in their family policies. But critics of this move say it’s an end run around the best part of plan, which is that insurers must cover individuals, no matter what their health history is.

The companies, such as WellPoint, Cigna and CoventryOne say that offering child-only policies that must accept children regardless of their health history — and without a mandate that everyone must purchase health insurance — creates a climate where parents will wait until their children become sick before getting them covered. Mandatory coverage does not kick in until 2014.

But with insurance companies continuing to raise their rates, and family plans costing even more than policies that only cover children, they’re only pushing more and more people away. According to the Washington Post, there are between 100,000 and 700,000 enrolled in child-only policies — a significant number of individuals but a small percent of the insurance market.

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Photo: scienceprogress.org

Thanks to Momocrats for many links to reports.

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