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Several major health insurance companies have announced they will stop selling individual child only health insurance policies, possibly as soon as Thursday, September 23. Companies such as Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna Inc. and others will stop selling the individual policies in states such as California, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut and others due to the requirement in the healthcare reform law that they not reject children with pre-existing conditions from coverage.
The companies say, according to the Los Angeles Times, that the new healthcare law requirements will just cost them too much. The companies fear the new law will encourage parents to buy coverage only after their children become ill, producing a large amount of ill children to insure. "Unfortunately, this has created an un-level competitive environment," Anthem Blue Cross said in a company statement.
In February of this year, Anthem Blue Cross and its parent company WellPoint threatened to raise policy premiums in California by as much as 39%. They were prevented by the outcry from the public, state and federal officials. The company raised rates recently, at between 14% and 20%
The decision of the insurance companies will not affect current individual child only health insurance policies, family policies or insurance provided to children through their parents' employers. The Times reports experts believe about 500,000 children without insurance nationwide could be affected.
The White House was not pleased with the decision of the insurance companies. "It's obviously very unfortunate that insurance companies continue to make decisions on the backs of children and families that need their help," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at a news briefing.