News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: December 22, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Poizner Issues Draft Guidance Statement To Clarify That Health Insurers Must Offer Coverage To All Children
Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that he has issued a draft guidance statement for health insurers to clarify recently-passed health care legislation. AB 2244, which amends and adds to the California Insurance Code, requires that insurance companies offer coverage to all children under 19 years of age without exclusions or limitations due to any pre-existing condition.
"I want to make sure that insurers completely understand their obligations under the new health reform laws, especially as they relate to health coverage for children," said Commissioner Poizner. "I am issuing this guidance to provide clarity on a complicated new law, and to make sure insurance companies have clear direction regarding the new laws' requirements of greater access to health insurance coverage for children."
AB 2244, which was recently signed into law, follows national health care reform, which mandates that insurers may not impose pre-existing condition restrictions for children under 19 years old. The California law takes effect January 1, and allows the state to enforce this federally- and state-established requirement.
The draft guidance clarifies that AB 2244 requires, among other provisions, every insurer writing individual health insurance must offer coverage to children under 19 years old on every individual policy that it sells. The new law essentially prevents insurers from only offering health coverage for children on a limited number of policies.
The new law requires insurers to offer coverage to children at all times during the year and places a limit on the allowable premium if a child applies during a specified Open Enrollment Period (usually the child's birth month) or Late Enrollment Periods. Premiums based on pre-existing conditions for those who apply outside those periods are not capped.
Commissioner Poizner has provided interested parties until December 23 to provide comments and feedback on the guidance. The California Insurance Code is binding on insurers. The guidance tells insurers how to comply with the binding law.
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