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Open enrollment periods for children approved by HHS

The Department of Health and Human Services posted a clarification on Tuesday that allows insurers to implement defined open enrollment periods for children with pre-existing conditions, Bloomberg reported. Outside those time frames, families will not be able to purchase coverage for their children.

The move was designed to calm the worries of insurance companies surrounding a provision in the Affordable Care Act that prevents them from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. State insurance commissioners had expressed concerns that people might wait until their children got sick to get them coverage, making it impossible for plans to stay profitable, The Hill reported.

In a July 28 entry on the White House blog, Nancy-Ann DeParle, who is director of the White House Office of Health Reform, noted that the administration became concerned last week when some insurance companies threatened to pull out of the child-only coverage market rather than cover those with pre-existing conditions. Some did.

In the blog, DeParle notes that "the Administration will not hesitate to issue regulations if insurance companies unfairly limit access to insurance for children who need it most."

Insurers praised the clarification, The Hill reported. In reaction to the administration's announcement that it will establish an annual enrollment period for child-only policies, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida announced that it plans to resume selling child-only policies.

To learn more:
- read the advisory posted on the HHS website 
check out the Bloomberg article
see The Hill's piece
- read BCBS of Florida's press release

Related Articles:
Unintended consequences: Insurers stop offering new coverage for some kids

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