Cigna & Other Insurers Defend Changes

Some insurers who previously offered child-only insurance policies no longer plan to offer such policies now that President Obama’s health care reform bill requires children with pre-existing conditions to be covered as well.  This information comes from The Washington Post’s “Some insurers to halt new child-only policies” by N.C. Aizenman.  Cigna health insurance, WellPoint, and CoventryOne are three companies under fire from advocacy groups for making these changes.  Customers who already have child-only policies will be able to maintain those and children with pre-existing conditions will not have a problem being included in new family policies.

Health Care for America Now’s Ethan Rome says that it is immoral and appalling for these large companies to take away one of the consumer’s most anticipated changes from the health care bill.  The insurers who have decided to drop their child-only plans say that so many companies either don’t offer them or have taken them away that to keep the plan offerings would not allow them to remain competitive.  They argue that they couldn’t offer their customers the value they previously had and that their company could be compromised.

The Department of Health and Human Services is disappointed because insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans supported the law and said that insurers would comply in a letter last March.  AHIP points out that children with pre-existing conditions will still be covered under family plans and worries that parents would wait until their children were extremely sick to purchase child-only plans if the option were there.  In 2014 when all Americans will be required to maintain health insurance and adults with pre-existing conditions will always be covered as well, everything may be shaken up again.  Poor children with pre-existing conditions have Medicaid and CHIP to cover them and those children who are not poor can get coverage through high-risk health insurance pools.  Some states even have laws that will prevent insurers from halting sales of new child-only plans.

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