Colorado Child-Only Open Enrollment Details For January 2012

The next open enrollment for child-only policies is almost here, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some specific details in terms of what policies are available and what parents should expect when submitting child-only applications next month.

The first open enrollment window in 2012 will be the month of January.  Applications for child-only policies have to be submitted between January 1 and January 31.  Applications not submitted by the end of January will have to wait and re-submit in July, which is the second open-enrollment period of the year.  For most carriers, each child in a family will have to have a separate application.

All eligible child-only applications submitted during the open enrollment period are guaranteed issue, so the child cannot be refused coverage.  However, the applications are still medically underwritten and the rate can be increased by up to 200% based on the child’s medical history (so if the standard price is $100, the policy could actually be assigned a rate of $300, which is equal to a 200% rate increase).

Colorado Senate Bill 128 requires all Colorado health insurance carriers that offer coverage for adults to also offer child-only plans during the two annual open enrollment windows.  But the bill does not require carriers to provide guaranteed issue coverage for children who are eligible for health insurance from another source (other than a high risk pool like CoverColorado or GettingUSCovered – see the bottom of page 4).

Most Colorado carriers have selected one or two plan designs that will be available for child-only applications next month.  To give you an idea of what is available in Colorado for child-only coverage, we’re providing information here regarding child-only options from six of the top individual health insurance carriers in the state.  We’ve sorted them in the order we would recommend them, based on price, coverage, and ease of application.

1) Kaiser Permanente is also offering all of their individual plans for child-only applications next month, and will have a March 1 effective date for child-only applications submitted during the January open enrollment.  They have the same 200% maximum rate increase as other carriers, but they can also add an additional 50% surcharge, making their maximum rate for a child-only plan 250% higher than the standard rate. The Kaiser Permanente online application is available for child only. Also, if your child is younger than 2 years old, the rates with most carriers are really expensive. Kaiser’s rates for children under 2 years old are 1/3 to 1/4 the rates of other carriers. Kaiser is only available along the front range from south Denver up through Loveland.

2) Rocky Mountain Health Plans is offering all of their SOLO individual policies for child-only applications during open enrollment.  They will issue plans with a March 1 effective date. The Rocky Mountain Health Plans online application is available for child only. Their prices are very competitive.

Kaiser Permanente and Rocky Mountain Health Plans are also the only carriers appearing in online comparison tools. To compare your options with these carriers, go to the search engine and make sure to request a 3/1/2012 effective date.

3) Humana is offering their Value 100 plan, with a choice of two deductible options ($5000 or $7500).  Effective dates on child-only plans with Humana will range from February 1 to February 15, depending on when the application is submitted.  The maximum underwriting rate increase for child-only plans with Humana is 300%.  The Humana online application is available for child only applications.

4) Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is offering their Smart Sense 2500 deductible Standard Rx policy.  They will assign child-only plans a March 1 effective date.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has a paper application for the child-only plans, rather than the normal on-line application process.

5) Cigna is offering their Open Access 5000 policy.  Child-only applications submitted in January will be assigned a March 1 effective date.  The child-only application for Cigna is also a paper application.

6) Golden Rule (United Health One) is offering their Copay Select $5000 deductible plan, with no optional benefits.

If you have further questions or would like to submit a child-only application next month, please let us know.  As always, there is no charge for our services.

About Jay Norris

Jay operates a health insurance brokerage in Colorado, where he helps individuals and small groups obtain and maintain health insurance coverage.
Complimenting his work as a health insurance broker, Jay also provides data analysis and creates visualizations that are easily understood by consumers and other stakeholders in Colorado’s health insurance market.

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