As you are undoubtedly aware, you cannot purchase a child-only health plan (or any other health plan) through the federal or state marketplace at any time. You may only do this during the annual open enrollment period or a special enrollment period. For information on what happens when an employee's coverage ends, see What happens if I don't renew my group health insurance policy?
If you are covered by your employer's group health insurance plan and want to know whether it is appropriate for your child, consider the following: If your job requires you to travel for work reasons, then it may not be ideal to have a young child on such a plan. Most employers will require their employees to be at least 21 years old to be eligible for employment-based coverage. If you are employed by a small company or an individual practitioner, there may not be much choice of plans to select from. However, most large employers offer a variety of group health insurance options so check with them before you make a decision.
It is important to understand that although children can be added as beneficiaries to their parents' health insurance policies, this does not mean they can use those policies' coverage immediately. In order for a child to be able to use his or her parent's coverage, the parent must meet the requirements to be eligible to receive benefits.
You must enroll in or alter your health insurance plan at this time to obtain health insurance. A qualifying life event that triggers a special enrollment period is the birth of a child. You can enroll in a plan or alter your current plan during the special enrollment period without having to wait for the open enrollment period to begin.
A newborn baby is considered to be a medical necessity and is entitled to be covered by health insurance. Health insurance coverage for a newborn depends on where he or she lives and who his or her parents are. If a parent works for an employer that does not provide any form of health insurance, they may want to look into signing up for a state-run program such as Medicaid or CHIP. Otherwise, the child might not get coverage.
Parents should know that changing health plans for even one child can cause problems if another family member is already enrolled in the previous policy. For example, if a child already has medical coverage but its carrier drops out of the plan, then the child would be left with no coverage. To avoid these problem children, some families choose to maintain separate health policies for each child.
Health insurance carriers have different rules for determining eligibility for coverage when there are more than two children in a household. It's important to find out what the policy requires before you apply so there aren't any surprises later. If you have questions about how many children you can have covered by health insurance, contact your agent or broker.
Yes, you may buy a child-only coverage for your daughter, either on or off the exchange. In 2010, neither of these were applied to children—there was no obligation that parents maintain health insurance for their children, and there were no subsidies to assist pay for coverage. Any child under 18 could be left without coverage if his or her parent(s) chose not to purchase insurance.
In addition, children can sometimes be excluded from family coverage if one of them has been determined to be "eligible for other coverage." For example, if one's employer provides coverage through an association such as a labor union or employees' benefit trust, then that person would be able to exclude their children from that coverage by claiming eligibility for another policy. Further, if a child has been deemed "dependent" on a tax return because he or she receives more than one-half of his or her support from his or her parents, then that child would be eligible to receive coverage through our system even if his or her parents did not want to purchase insurance for him or her.
Finally, if a child does not meet the minimum age requirement for being covered under his or her parent's plan (which is usually 19 for men and 20 for women), then that child would not be able to join that plan even if he or she wanted to.