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13
Dec

Child Health Insurance Open Enrollment

Written by dreilly. Posted in Blog, education, premium costs

 

January 1, 2013 marks the beginning of an important open enrollment period for children’s health insurance policies in Maryland.

During the month of January two insurance carriers, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic, will accept applications for children under the age of 19.  This is one of two scheduled open enrollments that allow application for coverage in 2013.  The other occurs in July.  New policies for children are unavailable at any other time, at least until health reform changes teh rules in 2014. 

Policies are available on a guaranteed issue basis without exclusion for pre-existing conditions.  The effective date for those who apply in January is February 1st.  The effective date for those who apply in July is August 1st.    

Health insurance is often provided through employer based coverage, and employers typically subsidize employee premiums.  But as healthcare costs continue to rise, trends show employer subsidies for family and dependent coverage continue to decline. 

If you have family coverage through your employer you may want to look at the cost to provide separate coverage for your children.  Often the total premium of separate policies is lower than that of one family policy offered at work.  Here are the reasons.  Fewer employers subsidize family premiums and employer plans are usually rated based upon the demographics of the group participants, where employee ages can have a large impact.  Rating for child policies are based on the child’s age, which is lower age than the ages of employees in an employer plan.  This means child policies are almost always lower cost.

The same strategy can be applied to spouse plans too, but the rate differences amay not be as attractive, and medical underwriting applies for adults.  

Whether separating a child or spouse policy will lower your monthly cost depends upon the level of employer subsidy.  It’s easy to determine however.  Just bookmark this page and run the rate sets for Maryland’s available child plans after January 1stRates for spouse plans are available now.  It’s free and only takes a minute.

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