California health insurance shoppers on the lookout for the best and most affordable child health insurance California parents and guardians can rely on, there has been a recent development you should be aware of: Leading California health insurance plan companies such as California Blue Cross company Anthem, Aetna, Health Net and others like Cigna have announced they will resume sales of child only health plans beginning January 1st.
These companies will rejoin a market segment where only Blue Shield of California had been offering child only plans to the estimated 80,000 children in our state who are not presently insured through a family health plan or the group health insurance California employees may receive through their employer.
Insurers had left the child-only health plan market back in the fall of this year out of concern over how Health Reform mandates had been written as it relates to child only health plans. Since that time, California state legislation along with new guidance from the California Department of Insurance have been set forth and the insurers made a decision to reenter the marketplace at the start of the new year.
According to the guidelines set forth by the California DOI, the initial Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for children to be covered on non-grandfathered individual policies is January 1, 2011 to March 1, 2011, inclusive. Each subsequent OEP is specific to the child and is the full calendar month of the child’s birth date each year. There are also criteria set forth in the DOI Guidance for a Late Enrollment Period (LEP) that are worth noting for parents and guardians as well.
Purchasing a child only health plan outside of either the OEP or LEP will result in higher premium rates so it’s well worth it to the consumer to be ‘calendar-aware’ when it comes to shopping for a child’s health coverage moving forward.
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we’re fans of the Blue Shield of California plan lineup – specifically, their Blue Shield Balance plans for child only health plan strategies, but we’ll also be reviewing and reporting on the health plans of other insurers moving forward as it relates to each carrier’s ability to craft child-specific health plans that meet both performance and cost objectives.
As regular readers of the Vitality Blog know, we keep a close watch on developments on the California health insurance landscape, checking the horizon for news that can affect both current and potential consumers of health coverage here in the state. While free quotes for individual California health insurance plans and the ability to readily apply online for California health insurance plans are the norm here at Vitality online, we are also dedicated to using our website and accompanying Vitality Blog to deliver great buying guides for California health insurance as well as updates on the world of California health insurance for the consumer who wants to stay informed about this important element of every family’s financial planning strategies.