Q&A: How to find Child-Only Health Insurance

Question: There are no child-only health insurance plans available in my state. It’s too expensive to insure my child on my policy at work. What can I do?
There’s no perfect solution to your problem, but there is a way to get catastrophic insurance protection for your child. The disappearance of child-only policies from the market was an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the Obama health reform law passing a few years ago.
Beginning January 1, 2014, the rules for individual health policies will radically change as the bulk of the reform law takes effect. At that point, there shouldn’t be a problem getting a policy for your child. (Of course, many of the rules and regulations are still unwritten or unreleased… but this seems a reasonable conclusion).
So a good strategy for now is to utilize a short-term health insurance plan. Without boring you with the technical details, because these policies do not renew every year (they expire after a maximum of 11 months, at which point, theoretically, you can begin apply for and begin a new policy), they are not subjected to some of the regulatory requirements that resulted in the disappearance of child-only policies from the individual health insurance market.
Assuming your child is relatively healthy, there are short-term health insurance companies that will take him. The good news is that short-term policies are also less expensive than more “permanent” (the technical term is “renewable”) policies.
They won’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. But they do provide protection against big claims that could really put you in a huge bind financially. While they don’t tend to include office visit copays for a doctor, the one we generally recommend does include a $50 copay at an urgent care office (like a Doctors Care, for example).
You can get quotes for short-term health plans and enroll online here.
(Note: If your child is under two years old, they won’t qualify for that particular plan, but we do have other options available, so contact us.)
Many families with children also choose to supplement their health insurance plan with an accident insurance plan that pays a cash benefit for treatment related to an accident (because, you know, kids have those!). That’s a sensible and affordable way to supplement a basic short-term health plan as described here.