Saturday, January 28, 2012

First California Health Insurance Open Enrollment For Children

Posted by Sarah Sweetz Akhza at 11:34 PM
First California Health Insurance Open Enrollment For Children

You can apply anytime for California health insurance to cover your children, but open enrollment offers the lowest premiums for children with pre-existing health problems. Health care reform is ending the odious practice of denying coverage to the children who need it most.

Looking at hospital admission records across 37 states, Johns Hopkins researchers documented that if a child who is not covered by health insurance has to go the hospital, he's 60 percent more likely to die there than a child in the next room who has health insurance. The scientists estimated that 17,000 children died from neglect in hospitals in less than two decades.

Even worse, the investigators pointed out that 17,000 deaths is just the "tip of the iceberg." Since we don't have records on the number of children who died because they couldn't get hospital care or died when released too early from hospitals, the death toll is probably much greater.

You may be thinking that this tragedy came about because certain hospitals provide less desirable care than others.

Admission records, however, indicate no such disparity. The records do show that children, as well as adults, who lacked health insurance died more often in the very same hospitals, under the care of the same doctors and nurses, than people who were protected by health plans.

California Health Insurance Open Enrollment Keeps Premiums Low

For children under 19, the first open enrollment period for child-only individual California insurance plans runs from January 1 through March 1. During this and subsequent open enrollment periods, premiums are capped at no more than double the rate for a child who does not have any pre-existing condition. If you apply outside of open enrollment, there are no limits on premium rates.

Following this initial open enrollment, applications filed during the child's birth month or after a loss of coverage will also be included under open enrollment rules. That provides multiple opportunities for children to be signed up for health insurance in California when rates cannot be greater than twice the standard quote. Lower rates are expected to benefit about one in four children in California.

The Need To Cover California's Children Is Great

A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that one in four of the state's children suffered with pre-existing conditions that may have deprived them of individual California insurance plans.

The following year, the California Health Interview Survey found that among youth whose parents lacked health insurance in California through work, about one in five were not protected by a health plan.

Another provision of health care reform is increasing preventive care throughout individual health plans regardless of the amount of the deductible. That means applications for children are not only guaranteed to be accepted, but plans are also guaranteed to pay for 100 percent of regular well-baby or well-child exams and immunizations. Such recommended preventive services are provided with no co-insurance or co-pay charges under all health insurance for California purchased after the passage of health care reform.

Take Time To Check The Choice Of In-network Doctors

In California, it can be hard to find doctors willing to accept new patients, so it's particularly important to confirm which in-network physicians are available. Going out of network may be much more expensive. PPO California insurance plans offer steep discounts even before you meet the deductible.

Don't be afraid to schedule introductory visits with doctors to see how long it takes to get an appointment, how long you have to sit in the waiting room and how organized the staff appear. Some preliminary screening can have a big payoff when you really need an appointment quickly.


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