CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - March 12, 2011) - Navigating the individual health insurance market can be confusing for consumers and health care reform isn't making it any easier. To help residents, Ohio has implemented two open enrollment periods for children and adults to provide affordable health insurance options.

Open Enrollment for Adults

Ohio requires certain health insurance companies to offer an Open Enrollment period at the beginning of every year until they reach a set number of applicants. This enrollment period guarantees coverage for individuals who lose group benefits, have pre-existing conditions, or just graduated.

Residents must meet certain qualifications to purchase coverage during the Open Enrollment period. For example, individuals with pre-existing conditions are accepted into the plans but there is an exception is for individuals who are already confined to a hospital.

If a consumer is not eligible for Open Enrollment in Ohio, they should consider the high-risk pools established by health care reform. The high-risk pools provide coverage to Ohio residents with pre-existing conditions at an affordable rate.

Child-Only Open Enrollment

Health care reform requires insurers to offer children coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. To keep insurance affordable and protect insurers with a stable child-only health insurance market, Ohio has implemented an open enrollment period specifically for children. Ohio is holding the children's open enrollment March 1 to March 31 every year until 2014.

During March, parents will be able to purchase individual health insurance plans for their children. If a child-only policy is not purchased during this time, children can still be added to a family plan throughout the year.

Consumers looking for Ohio health insurance can compare plans at or call 1-888-250-3409 to talk to a licensed agent.

For more information about open enrollment periods in Ohio, consumers can visit the Ohio Division of Insurance website.

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Michael Mahoney