Thursday, July 5, 2012

Health Insurance in California Starts Open Enrollment For Children

While you can apply anytime for California health insurance to cover children, open enrollment probably offers the lowest premiums for youth with pre-existing conditions. Health care reform has mandated that companies selling individual California health insurance plans offer guaranteed-issue child-only policies during open enrollment. That reform policy ends the odious practice of denying health insurance to the children who need it most.

Looking at hospital admission records across 37 states, Johns Hopkins researchers documented that if a child who is not covered by health insurance has to go the hospital, he's 60 percent more likely to die there than a child in the next room who has health insurance. The scientists estimated that 17,000 children died from neglect in hospitals in less than two decades.

Even worse, the investigators pointed out that 17,000 deaths is just the "tip of the iceberg." Since we don't have records on the number of children who died because they couldn't get hospital care or died when released too early from hospitals, the death toll is probably much greater.

Health Insurance for Children Only No Longer Available

Parents looking to purchase health insurance for a "child only" recently were met with an unexpected surprise. There were no insurance plans available to cover only a child or children. When the first real wave of provisions under the new health care reform law took effect recently, insurance companies were mandated to accept all children regardless of health conditions and without any pre-existing condition waivers, limitations or waiting periods. Insurers promptly ceased to sell insurance coverage to children without an adult to be covered on the policy as well.

Just like many of the initial health care reform mandates, this part of the law can be seen as positive until you examine the potential effect. Mandating insurance companies to accept unacceptable risks wreaks of government-run health care. Forcing an insurance company to cover an uninsured child who is about to undergo a major surgery is no different that mandating an insurer to write a fire insurance policy on a house that is already on fire. No insurance company or any company in any other line of business would knowingly purchase a "loss". This philosophy is contrary to free enterprise and capitalism. Insurance should be purchased to cover "potential losses". The new health care reform law encourages irresponsibility since someone can now wait to face a "guaranteed loss" before making the insurance purchase. Who do you think will pay for all of this?