Business

Individual health plan enrollment for kids ends Saturday

Want to buy an individual health plan for your child? Don't wait. You must enroll by Saturday, April 30 or wait for the next enrollment period, Sept. 15-Oct. 31.

"I urge people who want insurance for their kids to apply by April 30," said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. "The next open-enrollment period is Sept. 15-Oct. 31. If you experience difficulty or have questions, call our Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900."

The open enrollment periods apply to all health plans in the individual market. People buying individual coverage don't have access to employer-sponsored health plans or their employer doesn't cover dependents.

New consumer protections under federal health reform prevent health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions.  However, just like employer health plans, the individual plans can create open-enrollment periods. During these times, children under age 19 do not have to complete a health questionnaire and cannot be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

If you need a health plan for your children outside of the enrollment dates, you can apply either to the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP), or if you qualify, to the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP-WA). To enroll in PCIP-WA, you must have been uninsured for at least six months and have a pre-existing medical condition.

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