YOU ASK:

Can I get health insurance for my child only?

WE ANSWER:

Child-only health insurance policies are bought by parents who are concerned about coverage for their child and want to ensure coverage even if parents get terminated from their job, change jobs, move to other places or get sick or injured. Child-only insurance policies are commonly sold by most health insurance companies.

However, you may find that these are rarer than before.

With the health reform bill regulations, which prohibit insurance providers from denying coverage to children who have pre-existing conditions or who are prone to getting sick or to increase premiums due to the child's health condition, there may be fewer child-only health insurance policies in the market.

What you can do is to try to get a child-only insurance policy from health insurance exchanges, which will be put up as part of the implementation of the health reform bill. These health insurance exchanges will help ensure that you are able to get the child-only insurance policy that you need at affordable prices, even when private health insurance companies refuse to sell these.

However, if you are currently employed, you can get an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you can include your child as a dependent so that he can get the coverage he needs. It is important to remember that although your primary concern would be your child's welfare and health, you also need to prepare in case you get sick or injured.

The good news is that the health reform bill will vastly improve the landscape for child insurance. Apart from the already-mentioned fact that insurance companies can't deny coverage or raise premiums due to health conditions, the bill offers the following:

  • More access to Children's Health Insurance Program. With more funding from the federal government, states can now give more grants to those who need insurance.
  • Improved pediatric benefit package. Under the new health plans that will be offered, the bill requires that vision and oral benefits be included.
  • Preventive care programs.
  • Programs to ensure delivery of quality care to children.
  • Extension of coverage to foster care children who are aging out of their Medicaid coverage
  • Enabling more children to have Medicaid coverage by expanding eligibility for children from families with 133% of poverty, instead of the previous 100% of poverty.
  • Extend the coverage of children so that they can stay under their parents' policy up until they are 26 years old.
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