Parents and guardians of children ages 1 to 18 have until July 31 to enroll for child-only insurance, the state Insurance Department said Tuesday.
While coverage has always remained available for children through family insurance plans, child-only policies are needed for a small percentage of children who are without private coverage for the entire family and who don't qualify for government programs.
“This segment of the market is important, even though it's small,” Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said. “We have grandparents on Medicare who are raising a grandchild. While they don't need a family health insurance policy, they do need an individual policy for that child.”
With passage of national health care reform, the federal government mandated that insurers cannot deny coverage to children younger than 19 because of pre-existing conditions. That prompted most insurers nationwide to stop writing new child-only insurance policies, leaving about 4 percent of Oklahoma children with no options for insurance.
The state Insurance Department requested an emergency rule to enable insurance companies to offer child-only policies in Oklahoma. After Gov. Mary Fallin signed it, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and CommunityCare launched programs to provide coverage for children 1 to 18 years old.
The Oklahoma High Risk Pool will provide insurance for babies younger than 1, if they aren't covered by a family policy or Medicaid.
The regular open enrollment period is from June 1 through July 31 each year. When open enrollment ends, special enrollment is only available for children 31 days after they undergo a qualifying event. For more information, contact the Insurance Department's Consumer Assistance Division at (800) 522-0071.
Child-only coverage for ages 1 to 18