Kentucky's Insurance Commissioner issued an order Thursday, telling insurers doing business in Kentucky that they must offer child-only policies.
Commissioner Sharon P. Clark says all insurers selling in Kentucky's individual health insurance market must offer an annual open enrollment period in January for those under age 19.
State officials say the order is the result of a fact-finding hearing last month. During that hearing, Clark asked insurers to explain why they stopped writing child-only policies on September 23.
According to the state, that was the date the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibited companies offering those policies from denying coverage because of an applicant's pre-existing health condition.
Clark said she was concerned those who needed a child-only policy would turn to Kentucky Access, the state's high-risk pool, placing more demands on that program.
According to her order, annual open enrollment will be held every January, starting in 2011, and running through 2013.
Federal health reform would not allow insurers to deny coverage, regardless of health status, in 2014.
"Insurers consistently told us that they wanted a level playing field. I believe this order is fair to insurers and offers Kentucky families the opportunity to obtain medical coverage for children in that age bracket, both healthy and unhealthy," Clark said in a news release.