Colorado Mandates Child Health Coverage

Governor Hickenlooper has signed Senate Bill 128 mandating that any company offering adult individual health policies must offer them to children. After the law was signed on April 29, the Colorado Division of Insurance issued an order requiring all Colorado insurers who offer individual health policies to adults to also offer them to children effective August 1.

 The order establishes a mandatory open enrollment period during the month of August for parents to buy insurance for their children. If they do not sign up in August they will have to wait until January 1, 2012.
 
The emergency regulation was enacted in response to the number of insurers who left the child-only insurance market after federal health care reform was enacted. Federal law currently requires that insurers, who sell any child-only insurance, must offer policies to all children, regardless of whether they have pre-existing conditions.
 
Beginning in 2012, there will be two open enrollment periods – January and July – during which parents can enroll their children in the individual policies. Otherwise, enrollment will only be allowed if there has been a qualifying event.