Health Insurance for Children
When it comes to your children, you want to provide them with the best care you can afford, especially for the sake of their health. Purchasing the right health insurance for children will not only insure that all of their needs are met when they become ill or injured. It also means that you have peace of mind in knowing that they will be cared for.
According to a federal health care report, “Children who are uninsured have decreased access to well-child care, immunizations, basic dental services, and prescription medication.”
With the creation of the Affordable Care Act, several changes have taken place at the federal level concerning child health care. Health insurers have new requirements, including:
- A pre-existing condition cannot be a reason for a health insurer to deny coverage
- All children’s policies must also include oral and vision care
- Expanding the health care network for all child patients
- Foster children are covered under Medicaid until age 26
- Inclusion of preventative care benefits on all plans to improve overall wellness. These benefits will also be excluded from a family’s deductibles.
- Provides state-based health insurance plan options to families who do not have employer-sponsored policies
- Eliminates lifetime limits on insurance benefits
- Bans insurance companies from dropping a child from a policy just because they get sick
- Standardized, affordable health care plans for all
Under the Affordable Care Act, you may keep your children on your health care plan until they turn 26 years old. That means that if they decide to come back home to live with you after college, you can be confident in knowing that they will still be insured.
The government is also working to make broader changes to the health insurance culture by developing a variety of different programs to promote health and wellness. They aim to promote accurate reporting of the quality of care a child receives in order to make improvements. All too often, a child goes without receiving the recommended level of care required to attend to their particular injury or illness.
Through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the government is also providing $25 million in funding for the Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project. This awards gives monetary awards to research companies with the goal of finding ways to reduce childhood obesity. Additional investments in other public health initiatives will encourage parents and children alike to become aware of the dangers of obesity, like diabetes and heart disease.
The main program supporting health insurance for children is called CHIP. It is a government-sponsored program that provides health insurance to over 7 million children at a reduced rate, including eligible immigrants. It is for young children as well as teens. In general, in order to qualify, you must earn an income of less than $41,700 per year for a family of four. However, there is some leniency for those that make higher incomes. It your family makes $70,650 or less, you can sign up for CHIP at a reduced rate.
The program is quite comprehensive and covers all the primary components of a health care plan. This includes routine check-ups, hospital care, immunizations, dental care, lab tests, and x-ray services. It also provides insurance coverage for:
- Eye care
- Emergency services
- Obesity screening
- Screenings for autism and depression
- Iron supplements for infants with a high risk for anemia
- Substance abuse services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Other preventative health services
Some states may have additional benefits, as each has jurisdiction over their own CHIP program. So, depending upon if you live in Maine, Florida, California, or anywhere in between, the benefits, premiums, and other eligibility requirements will differ slightly.
Those qualifying for the CHIP program, have reduced rates for certain medical services. For example, a routine doctor or dental visit will be free. Other services may require a copayment and some states charge a monthly premium. For example, in Pennsylvania, the lowest CHIP insurance monthly premium is $48.27, while the highest rate is $188.81.
Even those with employer-based health care cannot always afford to insure everyone in their family. Prior to 2014, approximately two-thirds of all employees with health care through their jobs did not include their children on their policy. These middle class families could not afford to cover their children on their health plan. The Affordable Care Act reforms aims to make sure that all children are covered.
Right now, there are over 7.6 million children who are still not covered by any form of health insurance. That is one in every ten children in the U.S. If your child is one of them, or you are seeking more information regarding health care insurance, speak with your independent insurance agent today. They have the knowledge and experience to help you find the right policy for you and your children.