Individual plan open enrollment for kids ends Dec. 15

If you want to buy an individual health plan for your child this year, or add your child to your individual plan, or if you’re an emancipated minor looking for an individual health plan, the 2010 open enrollment ends today. Kids still can get coverage through the Washington Health Insurance Pool and, if they qualify, from the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan.

We'll announce enrollment options for 2011 in the next few weeks.

New consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act prevent all health plans from discriminating against children because of a pre-existing condition. However, special enrollment periods are allowed. Washington state’s 2010 individual plan open-enrollment period was Nov. 1-Dec.15. During this time, children under age 19 could enroll in an individual health plan without having to take a health screen.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler created the special open enrollment period through a rule. After today, children under age 19 can get coverage through the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP), or if they qualify, through 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. There are some exceptions where parents can apply for coverage anytime in the individual market, such as the birth or adoption of a child or if a child or the parent:

■is no longer eligible for a state program.
■loses coverage due to a divorce.
■loses employer-sponsored coverage.
■moves and their plan is not available in where they live.

If you have questions about how to find health insurance or if you need help understanding your rights, call us at 1-800-562-6900 or read our health insurance page.

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