Legislators vote to restore child-only policies

One unintended consequence of health care reform was that sales of ‘‘child-only’’ insurance policies were halted in Georgia and other states.

These policies are usually bought by parents who have an employer policy that doesn’t offer dependent coverage. Sometimes they’re bought by parents who can’t purchase coverage for themselves due to cost or a health condition, and who want to cover their children.

When the Affordable Care Act required child-only insurance policies to accept kids with pre-existing health conditions, insurers in Georgia decided to stop offering new individual policies that cover children only.

But late Monday night, the state Senate passed House Bill 1166 aims to restore these policies to the private insurance market.

The measure, already approved by the House, would require insurers that sell individual health policies in Georgia to also offer child-only plans during an open enrollment period.

A consumer advocacy group that had backed the child-only bill said it was pleased by the passage of the legislation.

“We are hopeful and optimistic that Governor Deal will sign this bill into law, and look forward to working with other consumer groups and the insurance industry to make sure that families know these plans will become available again in 2013,” said Cindy Zeldin, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future.

Here’s a GHN article on the effect of health reform on child-only policies and how the legislation addressed the issue.

Also Monday, the House unanimously approved a bill that would require nurses to complete a continuing education or “competency’’ program before they can renew a license in Georgia.

And as noted Monday, the Senate passed an anti-abortion bill, but with major changes that may end up derailing the legislation. Here’s an AJC article on the abortion proposal.

The two legislative chambers may take up similar proposals Tueday to require drug tests for people who apply for welfare benefits.

Georgia Health News will track these and other health-related bills in this final week of the General Assembly.