Insurers ordered to appear at Frankfort hearing

September 29, 2010

Major health insurers are being ordered to a hearing in Frankfort, Ky., next month to explain why they are eliminating child-only policies.

Indiana's largest health insurer, Indianapolis-based Anthem, as well as Louisville-based Humana are among the companies scheduled to attend the Oct. 13 hearing called by state officials.

The companies say they decided to stop selling child-only policies partly because of the new health reform law, which requires them to accept children with pre-existing medical conditions.

Insurers said many parents might have waited until children were very sick before buying coverage, with the addition of many chronically ill children driving up premiums for other customers.

Some insurers said their moves were prompted by the decisions of competitors to stop selling child-only plans, putting them at a competitive disadvantage, The Courier-Journal reported Wednesday.

Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark issued the order to the insurers, saying in a statement that she was concerned it could adversely affect children with health problems.

She also expressed concern about the impact of the insurers' actions on Kentucky Access, the state's high-risk insurance pool.

Clark said it would "prove disasterous" if Kentucky Access were forced to take on several hundred children per month.

Although insurers are no longer offering new child-only policies, they will continue to cover children who have existing policies as well as to accept children with pre-existing conditions under new family policies.

According to Obama administration officials, between 100,000 and 700,000 children nationwide are covered by child-only policies.

In Kentucky and Indiana, Humana reports that its 1 million members include about 1,200 with child-only policies.



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