Parents Shocked When Kids Can't Join Obamacare Family Plan

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 05:02 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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Many parents are shocked to discover when they sign up for Obamacare that their children are ineligible to join the family marketplace plan, leaving some kids temporarily in limbo without insurance coverage, a CBS News report said Monday.

"The children are getting stuck in this spot where we've enrolled the parent but we can't bring the children back on the family plan," said Maria Proulx, senior legal counsel for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire.

That's because they could instead be eligible for Medicaid or a state's version of
the Children's Health Insurance Program — also known as CHIP — the low-income health insurance program for children who don't qualify for Medicaid.

Other parents are finding that their children are eligible for Medicaid but they are not.

Russell Clouden of Florida says he was stunned to learn his 14-year-old daughter, a horse show jumper, wouldn't be enrolled in the family plan because she might qualify for Florida Healthy Kids, the state's version of CHIP. The federal government still hasn't transferred roughly 90,000 Medicaid files over to Florida officials. She is awaiting insurance coverage.

"Based on your income, they'll separate your kids from your primary policy and they shift them off to Medicaid or Healthy Kids and there's no way you can bring them back,"  Clouden said. "I'm kind of in limbo with her because I'm just hoping she doesn't get injured or sick. Without insurance, you've kind of got a knot in your stomach watching her jumping," he told CBS.

Florida insurance broker Matthew Dinkel said parents have been calling him every day for an update. "They canceled their old plans that covered their entire family, and now they have coverage but their kids don't."

Jessica Waltman, of the National Association of Health Underwriters, said, "It's a nationwide issue that we've heard time and again, and it could have very significant coverage issues for families."

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