Tuesday, March 08, 2011

ObamaCare© Kiddies

As we've previously noted, new "child-only" health insurance plans are a thing of the past. Turns out, they're not even available retroactively.


One of my clients has a plan covering himself, his wife and their son (who needs some specific counseling and meds). "John" recently took a new job, and is eligible for the company-sponsored group plan. Problem is, it doesn't cover their son's "issues" quite as well as their current plan. John and his wife asked if they could put themselves on the group, and leave their son "behind" on their individual plan.

Seems reasonable enough.

The obvious route would be to file a simple change form, requesting removal of Mom and Dad. I knew that this wouldn't work: Dad's the "primary insured," meaning that removing him would be a substantial change requiring a different process.

So I checked with the service rep, who informed me that it would, in fact, be a big deal. We'd have to submit a new application on the child [ed: hang on, I'm getting there] and the carrier could decline to (re-)write him. Since we know that there are no more new child-only policies, I questioned this and was told that we needed to reference the in-force plan on the new application, and send a cover letter explaining what we were attempting to do.

I'm nothing if not helpful, so I had Mom fill out the new app, and I sent it (along with the requisite cover letter) to the carrier. And then we waited.

And waited.

Today, several weeks later, I received this in email from the service rep:

"[The carrier] has stated that they would not allow this due to it will now be a child only policy."

Okay, then why did we even go through this process in the first place? I could understand if the underwriter declined the child due to some health condition or other, but this answer means that everyone just wasted their time: there was no way they were going to acquiesce in the first place. I don't blame the rep: he was simply passing along the information that Home Office had supplied.

It seems to me that there are, in fact, two "bad actors" here: first, ObamaCare©, which has made it impossible for carriers to offer child-only policies. But I also blame the carrier for not just saying "no can do" in the first place, saving everyone involved time and trouble.

(I'm not naming the carrier because I have no reason to believe that this is company-specific).

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