Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, released a report recently showing access to child-only health insurance plans has declined significantly since passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Enzi said the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to take action to address problems created by the new regulations.

"This Administration must do something immediately to address the issue that 17 states do not have access to child-only health plans because of the new health care law," he said. "The Secretary of Health and Human Services could work with these states to establish a uniform enrollment period to provide greater stability in the marketplace for carriers and consumers. This would also prevent individuals from waiting until a child is sick before purchasing insurance."

The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Minority staff surveyed whether children under the age of 19 have access to child-only health insurance plans since enactment of PPACA.

The survey found passage of the health reform law prompted insurance carriers to stop selling new child-only health plans in many states. Of the 50 states, 17 reported that there are currently no carriers selling child-only health plans to new enrollees. Thirty-nine states indicated at least one insurance carrier exited the child-only market following enactment of the law, leading to the conclusion that child-only health insurance access and competition have declined since PPACA was enacted.

This raises concerns that similar changes, which are scheduled to go into effect in 2014, will reduce access and competition in the insurance market.

"If states are still left without access to child-only health plans, the Secretary should allow parents to purchase policies from other states," Enzi said. "Taken together, these recommendations could enable parents and grandparents to once again purchase health insurance for children under the age of 19."

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