Health coverage for child

I am a cancer survivor, and lost my group health insurance when I lost my job six months ago.  It’s tough going without insurance for myself, but worse for my son who has chronic asthma.  I’ve been crossing my fingers that he stays okay until I can get another job and health insurance.  In the meantime, can I buy a health insurance policy just for him?  Covering me as a cancer survivor would be too expensive, but he’s just 10-years-old and otherwise in good health.

Holding My Breath in Iowa

Dear Holding My Breath,

Good news, bad news, and then (maybe) more good news.

Good news first: Yes, you can buy a child-only policy for your son during an annual open enrollment season.   Bad news: the open enrollment season ended August 14, 2012.

More good news: buying a policy on yourself may not be as bad as you think.  If you have not had treatment for your cancer in the previous six months, then it is not considered a pre-existing condition and your policy would not be higher cost.  If you have had treatment in the six months, the insurer can set your rate up to 35 percent higher than a “normal” rate.  You cannot be turned down, however, by the insurer.

And another option to consider: if your income is below the Health And Well Kids Iowa limits, you can purchase health insurance for your son for less than $40 per month.  While you are unemployed, you may qualify for this program.

Best wishes in your job search!

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.