Parent’s Tips on Child Health Insurance Plans

By | November 2, 2013

Children are accident-prone, vulnerable to illnesses, bacterial infections, and more serious ailments. Health insurance for children provides benefits beyond just payments of bills. With a child health insurance plan, it is easy to access routine health procedures such as preventive vaccinations or medicines, check-ups, dental treatment, as well as treatments for recurring problems like ear infections, coughs and colds and other childhood ailments. Child health care insurance allows children to continue with school and life uninterrupted, and saves you the anxiety of mounting health bills. There are a number of low-cost and free insurance programs for both working families and families that qualify under other categories.

Health Insurance for Children

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), also known as State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created in 1997, to provide health insurance for children whose families that were over eligibility limits for Medicaid programs, but couldn’t afford private insurance. The CHIP is financed by both the Federal and State governments, with each State being allowed to customize the child health insurance program to suit its own people and their needs. For all health insurance for children, elements like eligibility, benefits, payment levels, design of the program, and administrative processes are left to the State government to decide. Every State and Territory has a SCHIP coordinator to administer and oversee the program of health insurance for children, along with waivers and demonstrations.

With the new Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009, the previously existing Children’s Health Insurance Program has been authorized to provide child health care insurance for children whose families currently use the Program, and financed until 2013 to reach out to the millions of uncovered children in the United States. Currently, children and expecting mothers already covered by this child health care insurance program, and uninsured children and pregnant women from low-income groups will be able to access benefits. In most states, children who are 18 years and below from four-member families earning up to $44,500 a year are eligible for CHIP coverage.

The child health insurance plan under CHIP includes dental care, oral restructuring and emergency dental treatment, eye care, doctor visits, prescriptions, hospitalization, and medical equipment, etc, depending on the State package design.

Medicaid and Child Health Care Insurance

Medicaid provides child health insurance plans for low-income families that fit eligibility norms set by the Federal and State government. Here too, each State designs and defines the benefits and procedures of the child health insurance plan. In this case, payments are made to health providers and not to individuals who are covered. In some states, a percentage or minimum amount of the total cost may be required from covered individual or family.

Eligibility of this child health care insurance program depends on age of child, whether they are disabled or blind, as well as status of citizenship. Children who are residents with parents or guardians who are not citizens may be eligible also. Not all American citizens are eligible for child health insurance plans, even if income is low, but it is best to apply for Medicaid if there is a possibility so that a qualified professional can evaluate the case.

Every State, District and Territory has representatives or administrative bodies for CHIP or Medicaid that are responsible for overseeing child health care insurance procedures in that area. A portion of tax dollars is allocated for child healthcare insurance and benefits that can help a family in times of medical or health emergencies, and new laws make it easier for families to access financial help in these times. Providing adequate coverage through a child health insurance plan in the case of any health or medical emergency now can help avoid unnecessary worry and expenditure later. Parents and guardians will find it worth their time to meet and discuss child healthcare insurance and eligibility with a qualified caseworker of either program.

References:

  1. Oral Health Coverage Plans. Insure Kids Now
  2. Overview: Medicaid. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  3. Overview: CHIPRA. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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