Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: January 18, 2012
Sen. Jim Wilson
Bill to provide health insurance to state's children
On Wednesday, Sen.
Jim Wilson filed legislation to ensure access to individual
health insurance for Oklahoma children. The Tahlequah Democrat said
his bill is in response to the new rule allowing insurance companies
writing policies in Oklahoma to avoid the Affordable Care Act requirement
to offer health insurance for all children without regard to the
child’s health status or condition. Senate Bill 1181 requires
all insurance carriers selling individual health benefit plans in
Oklahoma to provide at least one child only health benefit plan,
which is one where there is no adult on the individual policy.
“As a government, we have a moral obligation to protect the
health of our most vulnerable citizens, our children,” said
Wilson. “As many of us know all too well life can be uncertain.
We never know what could happen tomorrow, but parents and guardians
need the ability to look out for the wellbeing of those in their
Wilson explained there are many scenarios where families need access
to child-only health policies – the parents may be insured
through an employer-sponsored plan which doesn’t offer dependent
coverage or the family may not be able to afford coverage for all
their members and is seeking coverage for the children only.
A very common situation in Oklahoma is retired grandparents having
custody of their grandchildren and they are on Medicare and make
too much to qualify for Medicaid for the child. Life events such
as divorce or job loss may also affect insurance coverage.
Under SB 1181, the first open enrollment period would begin on the
first of the month closest to ninety days after the effective date
of the Act. In subsequent years, the open enrollment periods would
be in January and July. Coverage obtained during those months would
become effective 30 days after the end of the open enrollment period.
Outside of a qualifying event, a child-only policy could be applied
for only during an open enrollment period. The policies provide
coverage for individuals under the age of nineteen. Wilson explained
that children who lose coverage due to a qualifying event could
obtain child-only coverage by applying within thirty days of that
event. Qualifying events include birth, adoption, marriage, dissolution
of marriage, loss of employer-sponsored coverage, loss of Medicaid
or Children’s Basic Health Plan coverage, entry of a court
or administrative order mandating coverage, etc.
SB 1181 is patterned after Colorado’s law, which was approved
in 2011. Other states such as California (2010) and Arkansas (2011)
have also passed laws requiring all insurers doing business in their
states to offer child-only policies. Kentucky did not pass a law
on the issue, but it’s Insurance Commissioner issued an order
requiring insurance companies to offer child-only policies during
a specified enrollment period each year.
For more information contact:
Sen. Wilson: (405) 521-5574