There are several options to consider when it comes to obtaining health insurance coverage for your children. Ideally, your employer will offer a benefits package that includes insurance coverage for both you and your dependents. But not every company offers such benefits. Even if you receive coverage through your work, it may not extend to your children.
Or you might not be able to afford the additional cost of covering children with an existing plan (or even insuring yourself through an employer-sponsored health plan). In such cases, you’ll be glad to know that there are other ways to get the health coverage needed to keep your kids safe and gain peace of mind.
As you may or may not know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was designed mainly to offer affordable health coverage to the millions of uninsured Americans who would otherwise be unable to pay for health care. And it is particularly focused on underserved groups, including children. As a result, parents unable to afford private insurance options can still get their kids the coverage needed to keep them healthy through regular check-ups and other necessary medical visits, procedures, and so on.
So if you are in a low or middle-income bracket and the cost of private insurance for your entire family is more than you can afford, you’ll want to look into insurance options for children offered through the state-run exchanges associated with the Affordable Care Act. There are two options: Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Medicaid offers health coverage for a variety of individuals, including children and pregnant women. This program is federally funded, but your state may provide additional funding. CHIP is also federally funded, but the program is administered on a state-by-state basis. Both programs offer coverage for otherwise uninsured children.
Of course, you will have to apply for these programs in order to enroll your children, and your eligibility will depend on your income, as both Medicaid and CHIP are intended for low-income families. However, you don’t necessarily need to insure adults in your household in order to take advantage of these programs. And if you are already covered under a different health insurance plan that is too expensive to add your kids to, they may still qualify for Medicaid or CHIP due to your low-income status.
Another option is to simply pay out-of-pocket for private insurance for your children. And this may become necessary if you earn too much money to qualify for federally-funded programs like Medicaid or CHIP. But don’t forget that you may also qualify for other plans through the healthcare marketplace (i.e. Obamacare, via state exchanges). There are several levels of health insurance packages available for families, so even if you don’t qualify for free or low-cost coverage for your children through Medicaid or CHIP, you can still receive coverage that is likely to cost less than going directly to a private health insurance provider. The important thing is to find out what all of your options are so that you can select the plan that saves you the most money when you purchase health insurance for your children.
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