Insurers Find Ways to Deny Kids Coverage

Firms say loophole lets them exclude youths, hike prices
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2010 9:16 AM CDT
Insurers Find Ways to Deny Kids Coverage
Not so fast Tiny Tim. Health insurance companies can still turn you away.   (Shutterstock)

Insurance companies say there’s a loophole in the health care reform legislation that will allow them to keep denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions for years. President Obama had promised that such denials would be “banned forever” this year. But “the fine print differs from the larger political message,” one insurance lawyer tells the New York Times. While insurers must cover preexisting conditions for any children they insure, they don’t actually have to insure them in the first place.

Companies can also still jack up premiums for kids they deem risky. That’s not exactly what Democrats had in mind when they wrote the law. “This is outrageous,” fumed Jay Rockefeller, calling the insurers “deplorable.” The loophole will close in 2014, when insurers will have to sell policies to anyone, but until then, “if you have a sick kid, the individual insurance market will continue to be a scary place,” says one health policy researcher. (More health insurance stories.)

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