Because parents can buy child-only insurance at the last minute, child-only policies will be purchased disproportionately by already-sick clients. The disproportionately sick clientele will be expensive to care for, which will force insurers to raise premiums. The high premiums will give the healthy even less incentive to purchase coverage in advance, thereby making the client pool even more disproportionately sick. That will raise premiums again, even further, and so on.
This snowball effect creates inherent instability that leaves insurers with no way to properly price plans in advance. As AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach tells National Review, “However well-intentioned, the regulations provide an incentive to parents to wait until after their children get sick to buy insurance,” and this “is going to cause health-insurance premiums to rise for all families, at a time when they are already struggling in a weak economy.”
Goldstein thinks that argument is misleading. “When the industry expressed reservations about the rules, the Obama administration accommodated them,” he explains. “HHS Secretary Sebelius and her staff added in the ability for insurers to create open enrollment periods, so that a child who suddenly developed a health problem could not just rush over and buy a policy that would be guaranteed issue. Instead you have to say during the year, when you don’t know if you’re sick, whether you’ll enroll. They tried to accommodate insurers.”
My insurance company is Regence Blue Shield. They’ve never been anything less than exquisitely helpful and back when we got bought by the big number internet company, I kept my privately held (and HOLY GOD EXPENSIVE) insurance policy, moved Baby from it onto Peter’s company policy, and had assurances from them that I could re-add her at any time. All I had to do was keep myself on it to keep the plan (it’s a really good plan that they don’t sell anymore).
So Peter left the big number internet company at the end of last week and he doesn’t start at the fruit company until the 25th of October. So I called Regence to have her re-enlisted and was told which form to fill out and to have it post marked by September 30th for October coverage.
So I’m staring at this stupid form and call them back and tell a guy that I have some questions about it. He goes very quiet for a moment, asks if the lady told me anything besides where to find the form, and then went on at length, very embarrassed, that children under 19 don’t pass through underwriting anymore because of the new healthcare laws, and they’re only able to be enrolled between November and December for January 1 enrollment.
So, to summarize: Because the healthcare plan forces insurance companies to cover children with pre-existing conditions, the insurance companies won’t sell a plan to any child, even one that was a) covered by that insurance company from birth to just seven months ago and b) has been covered her entire life. This isn’t a child who doesn’t have coverage and I just need it for a couple weeks while I schedule some open heart surgery for her. I don’t even want to buy her child-only coverage. I just need to add her to my plan, where she started, for literally three weeks until Peter’s fruit company coverage starts.
So basically, thanks to this wonderful healthcare bill, a) The insurance industry in this country is f---ed, b) The only way to keep your child insured is to never, ever leave a job you hate, and c) You’d better not reach for your dream job because the government would hate for something to happen to that kid of yours while you move.
Also, it’s $618 dollars, or would be, for the two of us, per month. For crying out loud. This is going to turn people into slave labor for their corporate overlords. It’s bullsh-t.
The guy told me he’d talk to his supervisor about getting me an exception (since she’s insured currently) but mostly he was also going to try to get me an exception because the lady I talked to first told me there would be no problem. Then he said he’d call me back. He never called me back. And I have one day to get it postmarked for October coverage.