Regardless of what parents do to protect their children, accidents and illnesses happen. Being able to have proper medical care for a child is a great relief when something unexpected happens. Many people are unable to have proper medical care for their children because the cost of care and/or insurance has become a premium they just cannot afford. The options for child health insurance plans are increasing every year due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Under the Affordable Care Act an employer based health plan cannot exclude a child under the age of 19 for a pre-existing medical condition or disability. Under the old law many parents were almost forced to stay in positions and companies where they were not happy, just to make sure that their children with medical problems would not lose their medical care. Under the new act, a child’s health care is not jeopardized by a parent changing jobs. It is also possible to cover children until the age of 26, if the child’s employer does not offer a medical option or the ability to purchase health insurance. This can be a significant boost to a young person when they are first starting out.
Using the website, www.health.gov, is a great place to start your search for child health insurance programs. This website that is maintained by the US Department of Health and Human Resources contains a ton of information on the law as it concerns health care and the rights of people to find affordable health care for their children. Probably the best and most useful part of this site is the search by state function. This search function can help you find insurance plans and options that are affordable. When you click on the search state box, you are taken to a very short, private questionnaire where no personal identifying information is requested. After submitting the form, quotes from a number of companies are presented so that you can review different medical plans before being inundated with calls from sales people.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is another initiative of the Department of Health and Human Resources. It provides information and direction to people who need to cover their children and cannot find a child health insurance plan that is affordable due to economic burdens. The website (http://www.cms.gov/home/chip.asp) covers the subject of public health care for children very well. There are specialty articles and search functions which allow people to find the information they need very quickly. CHIP only provides information about where parents can go for help. The site outlines what help may be available and in some cases any fees that may be charged. When trying to find care for a child this information is extremely valuable.
Another great resource for finding medical care and health insurance information for children is http://www.insurekidsnow.gov. This site provides an overview of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It is an easy to read, information packed website that is very user-friendly and has a lot of state specific information. There are resources for parents and professionals alike, resources that will allow you to connect and share with other parents going through the same trials.
Even with all the changes that the Affordable Care Act brought to the field of child health insurance coverage, millions of children are still either uninsured or under insured. Children who do not have the means to receive adequate medical care are at risk for many health related problems as they grow. Children who do not receive routine health screenings tend to do worse in school than their counterparts who receive medical care either from the public health sector, private insurance or private pay sources. In an effort to bring this information to light a study, Covering Kids and Their Families Back to School Campaign was conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. It found that nearly 70 percent of the more than 8 million uninsured kids that could be covered by programs in the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid have yet to be enrolled. Child Health Insurance problems will not go away without the help of parents and concerned citizens. When we have the means to protect our children, it is imperative that we do so for the child, the family and the community.