When it comes to our children, peace of mind isn’t easy to find. But, you can put your worries at ease by knowing your children are covered by health insurance. Without coverage, your child may not have access to care they desperately need. Routine visits can run into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. It’s not worth taking the risk and leaving your children’s health to chance.
Although, with constant changes to healthcare, insurance policies can leave us feeling unsettled. Do you know what your children’s health insurance options are?
Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides healthcare coverage to those who have a very low-income. This option is available for free or at an extremely low-cost to limited income families and children, pregnant women, elderly and the disabled.
Specific states have expanded Medicaid coverage for all people below a particular income bracket, which is if your household income is below 133% of the federal poverty level. Although, it is worth applying even if you don’t meet the income levels as there may be other options available. There is no enrollment period for Medicaid, and you can apply anytime.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (known as CHIP) provides low-cost health coverage for children that don’t qualify for Medicaid based on their family’s income level. CHIP helps bridge the gap between Medicaid and purchasing health insurance. Some states have expanded CHIP to also include health insurance for pregnant women, in addition to parents and caregivers. The healthcare benefits of CHIP vary state to state, but most provide the basic coverage such as:
- General check-ups
- Certain prescriptions
- Dental and visions care
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
- Emergency services
- Lab work and X-rays
Basic doctor and dental visits are considered free under CHIP, although there might be fixed amounts due after your deductibles, which are required for non-standard services. Certain states may also charge a small monthly fee. Even though the costs vary state to state; it shouldn’t cost more than 5% of your annual income.
You can apply for CHIP throughout the year, and if qualified, your coverage will begin immediately. Each state has its own rules and eligibility requirements, so the best way to find out is to submit an application. Alternatively, you can even apply for Medicaid coverage, as you will be advised if your children are covered by CHIP.
The easiest way to apply for CHIP is through your state’s Medicaid office or by filling in an application at via the Health Insurance Marketplace. By applying, you will also find out about any discounts that you qualify for on individual insurance plans.
Health Insurance Marketplace
For higher-income families, Medicaid and CHIP may not be available. To make sure your children are insured, purchasing a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace provides another option. It’s important to note that insurance can only be purchased from mid-November to late February during the enrollment period.
To apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will need to fill out the application online. You will need to supply information such as your social security number, income and employer information, in addition to any current insurance plans.
If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, you won’t be eligible for any savings in Marketplace insurance, so it’s best to use the public programs. These are much more affordable, and generally, the coverage is the same. You will be notified if you qualify for any public programs once you apply for Marketplace insurance. If your income is slightly above the qualify level for Medicaid, you may be able to pay low premiums for private health insurance via the Marketplace.
Many other insurance plans might be more affordable than you imagine and offer a wider array of benefits for your children. Since 2010, all health insurance companies are unable to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. The Marketplace is available in every state with the goal to make health coverage within reach of all income levels.
Health Insurance Options for Young Adults
If you are 26 years-old or younger and not covered by health insurance through your job, then you may fall under your parent’s health insurance plan. Even if you are married, self-dependent or living on your own, you are still eligible to be protected. Although, it’s worth contacting your parent’s insurance provider to be on the safe side!
Make Sure Your Children Are Insured
Health insurance for children is mandatory. It’s required by law, and parents who don’t have their children covered may have to pay a fine each year. Plus, when it comes to your children, it’s always better to be on the safe side.
If you’re looking for the fastest and most efficient way to find the best healthcare coverage for your children, then get in touch with us today! We’ll assess your options and help you move forward in the right direction.