Health Insurance For Kids

by Joe on April 5, 2010

I am not a parent yet but i know that one of the big items that count for household debt is hospital bills. When you are not covered by any health insurance, and need a major hospitalization, this can put you several years back in finances. Read my $4500 tooth extraction story. This is further complicated when you have small kids. They get sick so often and if you have active young ones, they break and twist their limbs every once in a while. This is every parent nightmare. The good news is that there are programs in place to help families reduce the risks of personal financial meltdown while raising the young ones.

In the USA these programs include but not limited to:

Medicaid
Medicaid is jointly-funded federal-state partnership that is administered by the states. Medicaid provides health care coverage to certain low-income people and families. Whether you qualify for Medicaid depend several factors and each state has a unique set of eligibility rules and benefits covered.

Medicaid coverage for children is available in every state for children living below the federal poverty level ($18,310 for a family of 3 in 2009) and children up to age 21 are eligible.

Medicaid pays for a full set of services for children, including preventive care, screening and treatment of health conditions, physician and hospital visits, and vision and dental care. In most cases, these services are provided at little to no cost to the family.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP is a state and federal partnership that provides low-cost health insurance coverage for children in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase private health insurance coverage. States have considerable flexibility to establish income eligibility rules for CHIP, but children enrolling in the program must be otherwise uninsured.

Within federal guidelines, each state determines the design of its individual CHIP program, including eligibility parameters, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage, and administrative procedures. States have flexibility in designing the benefit package for CHIP, but states are required to cover routine check-ups, immunizations, dental, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, and laboratory and x-ray services. Preventive care must be provided at no cost to the family; but premiums and other cost-sharing may be required for other services, within certain limits.

On February 4, 2009, President Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which provided funding to renew and expand CHIP coverage. This new legislation preserves health coverage for millions of children who already rely on CHIP, and provides resources for states to offer CHIP coverage to millions more uninsured kids.

 Family Health Insurance Plan
This is mostly provided through the employer or individual health coverage plan.  Under the family plan you select the items that you want to enroll coverage for and the ones that you want to opt out. But most health insurance will cover preventive care, screening and treatment of health conditions, physician and hospital visits, and vision and dental care for kids. Check your plan and read the fine prints.

Women Infant & Children (WIC)
This is not a health insurance plan but a government initiative that provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. This is administered through local health departments.

Even if you have insurance coverage through your employer, it’s worth checking which other supplemental plan you can tuck under your belt as you walk through the journey of parenting.

Related Readings & Resources

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Plemon April 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Joseph,
As a guy who spent a career in government (which paid for most of my health insurance and still does), I have been pretty much naive about the programs you explained in this post and how they worked. This is good information! Thanks for researching and explaining them. I am sure this post will benefit your readers.

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Joe April 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Joe! I am glad you found it resourceful.

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