Child-Only Health Insurance Coverage: Where Can I Find Health Insurance for My Kids?

Affordable Care Act

Child-Only Health Insurance Coverage: Where Can I Find Health Insurance for My Kids?

Published on March 21, 2013

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View an updated version of this article, updated in 2018. 

Health insurance, Obamacare and your kids…

 

Where can I find health insurance for my kids?

If you’ve followed things over the past few years, you’ll know that “child-only” health insurance coverage for your kids are pretty hard to find these days. It isn’t quite as hard to find as it used to be, however.
In 2012, we highlighted specific states where child-only health insurance coverage was available at least at certain times of the year or in certain circumstances. It’s time for an update, and that’s what we’ve got to help you to find health insurance for your kids.
Before we do that, however, here’s a brief summary of the situation:
So-called “child-only” plans are health insurance policies in which no parent or guardian is covered and the policyholder is age 18 or younger. The health reform law made it impossible for insurers to decline coverage for people age 18 and younger. However, concern that parents could delay purchasing coverage for children until they got sick led some health insurance companies to stop offering child-only plans.
In response, certain states and insurance companies have designated “open enrollment” periods for child-only health insurance plans – specific annual or biannual enrollment windows when parents or guardians can enroll children in their own individual health insurance plans without danger of being declined due to their medical history. In some states, child-only health insurance coverage is available year-round.
Now, the summary below represents a snapshot of current rules and processes governing child-only health insurance in select states. This is not a comprehensive review of the situation in every state.

State Open Enrollment Periods and Conditions
Alaska Availability of child-only plans varies by insurance company, but some insurers offer child-only coverage year-round.
Arkansas Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
California Open enrollment occurs during child’s birth month – Applications submitted at other times may be approved with a higher premium due to pre-existing conditions. Some insurers offer child-only coverage year-round.
Colorado Open enrollment occurs in January and July 2013. Some insurers may accept applications year-round.
Connecticut Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
Delaware Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
District of Columbia Open enrollment periods occur in January and July, but insurer participation may vary.
Hawaii Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
Idaho Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
Iowa Open enrollment occurs July 1 through August 14, 2013 – though some insurers may accept child-only applications year-round.
Illinois Open enrollment occurs in January and July 2013.
Kansas Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company and by locale within the state.
Kentucky Open enrollment occurs in January 2013.
Maine Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
Maryland Open enrollment in January and July 2013.
Massachusetts Open enrollment occurs from July 1 through August 15, 2013.
Missouri Availability of child-only plans, and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company and by locale.
Montana Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company, though qualifying event may be required.
New Hampshire Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
New Jersey Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
New Mexico Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
New York Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
Ohio Open enrollment occurs in March 2013, but insurer participation may vary.
Oklahoma Open enrollment occurs in June and July 2013, but insurer participation may vary.
Oregon Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
Pennsylvania Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
Rhode Island Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
South Dakota Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company.
Utah Availability of child-only plans and enrollment periods may vary by insurance company – A certificate of insurability is required and can be obtained by applying and being denied coverage under the state’s high-risk pool, HIPUtah.
Vermont Child-only health insurance policies available year-round.
Washington Open enrollment from March 15 to April 30, 2013, and September 15 to October 31, 2013.

A few caveats: You’ll note that we didn’t list every state in the country, but these are the states in which we were able to confirm that there was at least one health insurer offering major-medical child-only health insurance coverage in at least some circumstances. Rules and conditions governing child-only coverage in any specific state may be subject to change.
While the data collected above provides some guidance for consumers in states where child-only coverage is available, rules affecting consumers in specific states and with specific health insurance companies may vary.

  • In some states, child-only health insurance plans may be obtained both through licensed agents and the insurance company, while in other states they may only be obtained by applying directly through the health insurance company.
  • A qualifying event (such as birth or adoption, the death of a parent, the loss of employer-sponsored coverage, etc.) may be required in some states to qualify for child-only health insurance outside an open enrollment period.
  • Some states allow insurers to charge child-only applicants with pre-existing medical conditions higher rates than those without pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Insurance companies in some states may be allowed to add a surcharge to the monthly premium for applicants who were previously uninsured.
  • In some states, insurers have opted on their own to accept child-only applications year-round while others may choose not to offer child-only policies at all.

To learn more about the status and availability of child-only health insurance plans in your area, contact a licensed health insurance agent like eHealthInsurance or your state’s department of insurance.

We’ll let you know when we publish anything new.