For parents looking for child-only policies in Colorado, we are in the middle of the 2011 open enrollment period, which will end August 31st. All carriers that offer individual health insurance policies for adults must also offer (during open enrollment periods only) at least one plan option for a child applying without an adult on the policy. This is pursuant to Colorado Senate Bill 128, which was signed into law earlier this year. Following the passage of SB128, the Colorado Division of Insurance stepped in to clarify the issue with emergency regulation E-11-03, which has specific details about the implementation of the law.
The first open enrollment period for child-only policies is the month of August, 2011. Applications have to be submitted by August 31st, and policies will not be effective until October 1, 2011. A waiting period between the open enrollment window and policy start dates will also be in effect for open enrollment periods in future years (January and July each year will be open enrollment for child-only plans). This regulation will help to cut down on adverse selection, as there will be a delay between applying and being able to use the policies.
Each carrier is required to have at least one policy that is available for children applying without an adult on the policy. As an example, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield will allow a guaranteed-issue child-only application for their Smart Sense 2000 Standard plan during open enrollment periods. All of their other policy options will only be available to children as long as an adult is also applying for the plan at the same time.
In addition to the designated January and July (and August for 2011 only) open-enrollment periods, there will also be open enrollment allowed in the 30 days following a “Qualifying Event” (which includes birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, loss of employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid, or CHP+ (or loss of other coverage for any reason other than fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to pay premiums), or a court order mandating that the child be covered.)