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Health Insurance for Kids

Any parent will tell you their children are the most important things in their lives. Kids are full of energy and surprises, often finding their way into unexpected and sometimes dangerous situations. Keeping your children safe and healthy as a parent is a top priority, which is why many parents chose to purchase child-only health plans.

What Is Child-Only Health Insurance?

While health insurance is extremely helpful in emergencies, many Americans chose not to be covered to save on monthly costs. Many people can justify not covering themselves, but not having coverage for their children is a different matter. Some parents may not realize that they can buy insurance for their children without necessarily getting coverage for themselves. A variety of plans and choices are available that will give your children varying levels of health insurance. Ideally, this plan will cover the minimum essential coverage requirements set under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Below we outline a variety of child-only health insurance options that fit different circumstances and needs.

Short Term Health Insurance For A Child

Short term health insurance plans offer affordable, temporary coverage for health crises and allow the parent security and flexibility in their children’s health insurance coverage. They can also give additional coverage during periods of high injury risk, such as family trips or summer camp stays, or serve as stop gaps to cover a dependent between employer insurance plans.

Plan durations vary state to state, but short-term health insurance provides benefits for anywhere between 30 to 364 days, and are available for kids older than 24 months. Short term health insurance plan premiums also usually cost less than unsubsidized plan premiums through the ACA. It is important to keep in mind, though, that these rates are lower because these plans only help pay for unexpected and high-cost injuries or illnesses, and do not include comprehensive benefits such as developmental screenings, vision and hearing checkups, vaccinations or preventative care.

Be sure to discuss the individual parameters and comparison shop for which short term health insurance plans are right for your child and your situation. Call individual providers for more information on different plans.

Major Medical Plans

Major medical insurance plans often cost more than other plans discussed here, but they also cover more health services than other plans. These plans will include, along with no-cost preventive care services, the 10 essential health benefits outlined under the ACA: ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, and pediatric services, including oral and vision care. Major medical plans also are guaranteed issue, which means that your children cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions or prior health history.

Cost, coverage, and eligible doctors will be different under different major medical plans. It is important to comparison shop major medical plans from different providers to find the right balance of cost and coverage for you. Be sure to check the pricing by comparing rates online using this site and reading up here for more information.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Some parents and guardians may make too much money to be covered by Medicaid, but not enough money to afford other types of health insurance. This is where the Children’s Health Insurance Program can step in to cover the gaps. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, often called CHIP, is a federally run and funded health insurance program made for children who do not qualify for any other insurance plans. Anyone with legal custody of the child can apply for CHIP, and CHIP can be applied for at any time.

CHIP covers a wide range of child health care services, including dental care, vision care, prescriptions and shots, well-baby doctor visits, and emergency care. CHIP is also very affordable, with many plans costing nothing out of pocket. Some plans require a small monthly fee or copay when your child gets care, but this cost is never allowed to exceed 5 percent of the parent or guardian’s annual income.

Medicare For Children

Low-income households are often eligible for Medicaid. Unlike CHIP, which is a federal program, Medicaid is run at a state level. Eligibility criteria and benefits for Medicaid will differ based on your residence. It is important to contact your state’s office to discuss the costs, benefits, and limitations of Medicaid, as this program will often restrict you to a certain list of Medicaid-accepting physicians.

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