Getting proper health insurance coverage for your kids is as important as any other thing you might ever do for them.
At the early stages of their lives, it is common to see kids visiting the hospital regularly – to get a vaccine or to treat a mild sickness. Children are usually very vulnerable to illnesses at that stage. But having adequate healthcare is the first step you can take to keep your kids healthy and happy.
Benefits of Health Insurance for Your Kids
The advantages of health insurance are numerous. Firstly, health insurance grants easy access to prenatal and postnatal care. Studies have revealed that children are given this early care generally have lower body mass index and lesser obesity rates, both of which are factors that significantly affect their susceptibility to a wide range of diseases late in life. They also show reduced hospitalizations for immune system disorders, endocrine problems, metabolic and nutritional diseases as well as low susceptibility to mental illnesses.
A child’s health directly affects his/her learning ability. Failure to get proper medical care at a young age can have adverse effects on kids. It is true that children who are healthy enjoy high-quality learning experiences. It also ensures that they are confident and capable of engaging in helpful social and economic relations with their communities.
Furthermore, public health insurance programs like Medicaid have helped low-income families financially as it gives them more money to spend on food and other basic items.
Securing Private Insurance For Kids: What you should know
In recent times, governments have put in much effort to ensure that every child has access to affordable healthcare. Yet, there is no rule preventing you from getting a private healthcare plan for your kids. Besides, not everyone will qualify for public healthcare.
You can either decide to get an individual policy for your child or buy a plan that covers the whole family. Whichever one you choose; the benefits are the same. They include:
- Access to private clinics and may also include access to their own rooms.
- Room for parents. You could be able to stay with your child in the clinic.
- Shorter waiting times.
- Access to private specialists which may not be attainable with public healthcare plans.
However, finding the right health insurance for your kids is just as important as buying the policy itself. For instance, if your kid is prone to falling sick frequently, you may consider buying a platinum plan instead of just going for cheap ones like bronze or silver. The premiums may be on the high side but it would adequately take care of most of your child’s medical bills without being too much of a financial strain because the bulk of the costs would be borne by the insurance provider, as opposed to other plans which have lower coverage by the provider and would require you to cover a larger percentage.
Enrolling for Public Healthcare Programs
If you cannot afford to get a private healthcare plan, then you should consider getting Medicaid. This is a public healthcare program funded jointly by the federal government and states and is designed to provide health insurance benefits to low-income families and individuals including pregnant women. It provides children and young adults with a lot of comprehensive health services which include but are not limited to
- Hearing examinations
- Eye services
- Mental healthcare
- Treatment of physical injuries
- Care for developmental disabilities and illnesses
- Laboratory and X-ray services
- Inpatient and outpatient services
- Case management
- Prescription drugs
- Physical and occupational therapy.
Every state manages its Medicaid program independently, with its own provider network. They also determine the type, duration, amount, and scope of services within wider federal guidelines.
Applying For Medicaid
The first thing you should do is contact your state Medicaid agency. Note that you must be an official resident of that state. If you live and work in a state different from where your spouse or kid lives then it’s best to let your partner do the application.
Secondly, head to the insurance marketplace and make an application. If you qualify, you would be duly notified and can promptly begin the process of getting a healthcare policy through any of the insurance providers.
Alternatively, you can try the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This provides low-cost insurance coverage for kids whose parents’ income is considered too much to be eligible for Medicaid. It is available in all states and operates in tandem with the state Medicaid program. But the rules and requirements of CHIP vary from state to state and in some states, the program covers pregnant women.
How to Apply For CHIP
You can apply either by calling the Centre for Medicare and Medicaid services or going to the Health Insurance Marketplace to make an application. After filling in the relevant details and your child is deemed eligible for CHIP or Medicaid your information will be sent to your state agency.
Note that this application can be made at any point in the year and once you qualify, your child can begin enjoying coverage immediately.
There are many benefits of CHIP as it’s designed as a wholesome healthcare package. They include:
- Doctor visits
- Routine check-ups
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
- Emergency services
- X-ray and laboratory services
This list is not exhaustive and there are other benefits that states may include in the program. The good thing about CHIP is that it is very affordable. The cap on your household income is 5% which means that if for example the combined of 45,000 dollars per year, you won’t spend more than 2,250 dollars on premiums. Yet, for some services you would be required to make copayments.
Having proper health insurance coverage for your kid is non-negotiable. Whether you choose to go for a public health plan or a private plan, the objective of preparing for the unknown is what should be paramount in your mind.
The good news is you’re not limited to a specific type of plan. That is, where a particular plan does not adequately cover your kid’s health expenses, you can make use of the other one.
The future of your kids largely depends on the investments and attention you give towards their well-being early in their life, and experts will tell you that the best place to start is by getting your child adequate health insurance coverage.