Parents: If you need individual coverage for your children, open enrollment is NOW!!!
Open enrollment for individual health plans started March 15 and runs through April 30. (Individual health plans are those bought by individuals, as opposed to health plans offered by employers or groups.)
We can't say this enough: If you need health insurance for your child, make sure you enroll early. If you miss this open enrollment period, you'll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period (September 15 – October 31), unless you meet certain qualifications.
Federal health reform prevents health insurers from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing health condition. However, just like employer-sponsored health plans, insurers can create open enrollment periods. During these open-enrollment times, children under age 19 do not have to complete a health questionnaire and cannot be denied health insurance.
We should note that there are some exceptions. You can apply for coverage for your child anytime in these examples:
- After the birth or adoption of a child
- Is no longer eligible for a state program such as Medicaid
- Loses coverage due to a divorce
- Loses employer-sponsored coverage (including COBRA coverage)
- Moves and their plan is not available where they live