US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Report: Access to Child-Only Health Plans Declines Under New Health Care Law

Tuesday, August 02, 2011Joe Brenckle 202-224-2465

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a report today that shows access to child-only health insurance plans has declined significantly since passage of the new health care law.  Enzi said the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to take action to address problems created by the new regulations.

“This Administration must do something immediately to address the issue that 17 states do not have access to child-only health plans because of the new health care law,” said Senator Enzi.   “The Secretary of Health and Human Services could work with these states to establish a uniform enrollment period to provide greater stability in the marketplace for carriers and consumers. This would also prevent individuals from waiting until a child is sick before purchasing insurance.  If states are still left without access to child-only health plans, the Secretary should allow parents to purchase policies from other states.  Taken together, these recommendations could enable parents and grandparents to once again purchase health insurance for children under the age of 19.”

The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Minority staff surveyed whether children under the age of 19 have access to child-only health insurance plans since enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The survey found passage of the new health care law prompted health insurance carriers to stop selling new child-only health plans in many states. Of the 50 states, 17 reported that there are currently no carriers selling child only health plans to new enrollees. Thirty-nine states indicated at least one insurance carrier exited the child-only market following enactment of the new health care laws. Accordingly, child-only health insurance access and competition in the market have declined significantly since passage of the Act. These findings are consistent with earlier surveys and highlight that the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to take action to address problems created by new regulations. This precedent raises concerns about the impact that similar changes, which are scheduled to go into effect in 2014, will have in reducing access and competition in the insurance market.

You can read the report here.

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