(Sacramento, CA) Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is helping to spread the word about a critical open-enrollment period for kids’ health insurance that began on January 1, 2011 and ends on March 1st. Attached is a Public Service Announcement from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
During the open enrollment period, parents can sign up their children for more affordable health insurance. As a result of President Obama’s federal health care reform plan and AB 2244 by Assemblymember Mike Feuer, children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage – they also cannot be charged rates that are more than double the rates of healthy kids. Parents of healthy children without insurance should also sign their kids up during this period; kids who don’t sign up during open enrollment periods may be subject to a 20 percent surcharge on their insurance rates for a full year.
“Parents should take advantage of this new health care reform plan to insure their children at an affordable rate before open enrollment ends on March 1st,” said Senator De León. “It is way more cost-effective—and more importantly, simply the right thing to do— to provide preventive care, than to treat kids when they arrive at the ER as their last resort.”
Parents are encouraged to check the web site of the California Department of Insurance (CDI) at www.insurance.ca.gov, where they can find fact sheets on how to insure their children. Parents were also encouraged to call CDI’s consumer hotline at 1-800-927-HELP or the state health insurance hotline at 1-888-466-2219 with any questions or concerns. Another important resource is http://finder.healthcare.gov/ (or www.cuidadodesalud.gov for Spanish speakers), a web site created to assist consumers in navigating their options under the Affordable Care Act.