Murkowski Bill Boosts Health Care Access for Alaskan Children

Legislation Aims To Counter “Unintended Consequence” of Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. –   Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced legislation with fellow Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that would allow parents to purchase insurance for their children across state lines, after a provision in the recent health care reform law resulted in Alaskan carriers not allowing new enrollees. “One of the unintended consequences of health care reform is that it has made it difficult for children to be insured if their parents or grandparents don’t have coverage that extends to them,” said Murkowski.  “This bill would offer certainty for children to have access to health care benefits.”

The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released a survey (attached) finding that Alaska is 1 of 17 states without a health insurance carrier that provides child only plans to new healthcare enrollees. The “Ensure Children Have Health Care Act,” introduced by Murkowski, would allow for the purchase of child only insurance policies across state lines during finite open enrollment periods.

A provision in the 2009 health care bill allows parents to get their child covered by health insurance at anytime – including scenarios where a parent does not enroll their child until they need medical care. This has caused many insurance providers to opt out of providing child only coverage.

“Children are our most valuable natural resource and should have the same access to healthcare as their parents – not be the victims of misguided policy.” Murkowski said.

For additional information/video pertaining to this policy, click here for footage of Tuesday’s Committee hearing where Sen. Murkowski explores the policy: http://bit.ly/rgTd3l