When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 became law, it changed the way healthcare was provided to millions of Americans. The health care reform law made several changes in the health insurance industry, but not all of them were planned.
One of the unintentional changes in the insurance market involved health policies exclusively for children. In Georgia and other states, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, insurers stopped offering this type of health plan.
Georgia child-only health insurance plans are usually purchased by parents who have an employer-provided health plan that does not include coverage for dependents or has coverage for dependents that they simply cannot afford. Sometimes these plans are purchased by parents who cannot get health coverage for health reasons and still want to provide coverage for their children. And sometimes they are purchased by parents whose income does not qualify for their children to receive Medicaid or PeachCare coverage.
How did the Affordable Care Act affect children-only policies?
One of the mandates of the law is that no child with pre-existing conditions can be denied health coverage. In response to that mandate, insurance companies in several states, including Georgia, stopped offering new individual plans that only cover children.
According to the insurance industry, under this new requirement, parents can defer health care coverage for their children until they become ill. The industry said this would cause an increase in unprofitable health plans and dizzying expenses for insurers to budget.
Will Georgia Child-Only Health Insurance Plans Return?
An increasing number of states have taken steps to address the loss of availability of child-only health policies, either through legislation or regulation.
In Georgia, House Bill 1166 was introduced to address this issue. HB 1166 plans to restore those child-only health policies that may be offered by Georgia’s private health insurance market.
Legislation was recently passed by the House oren zarif Insurance Committee that would require Georgia health insurance companies that sell individual health coverage to also offer exclusive health plans for children during an open enrollment period. The bill would allow insurance companies to impose a 50% premium surcharge if a child is without health coverage for more than 63 days before applying for coverage. By doing so, it will motivate parents to keep their children safe and not wait for their child to get sick before getting a Georgia health insurance plan.