Last updated on August 12th, 2013
Your kids are the most precious thing in your life, and when it comes to covering their medical needs you want the best health insurance for children that you can find. But when you are young yourself, chances are that finding affordable coverage can be tricky. Selecting an insurance plan is hard enough to begin with, and with the added pressure of getting your kids covered, you want to make sure you make a good decision. Fortunately, there are some good options available that will give you comprehensive coverage at a reasonable, and sometimes free, price.
Children Can Be Covered No Matter Their Medical History
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as it is known by many, eliminated the pre-existing condition exclusion for children (and adults beginning in 2014). This means that an insurance company cannot deny health insurance for children with expensive medical histories.
Don’t Ignore Your Employer’s Health Plan
A group insurance plan allows every employee with the company to purchase health insurance at the same price. Employers will typically subsidize the cost of the health insurance premium. So if you are offered medical insurance at work, make sure to check the cost of the family or employee + child insurance tier. It could be cheaper than buying it on your own through the individual market or the health insurance exchanges.
Individual Health Insurance Plans
If you are not able to buy insurance at work, or you think the price is too high, you can go look for health insurance on your own through the individual market. You can independently search on your own, use a broker, or visit a website that will help you find plans and premiums that fit your medical and financial needs. Insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, etc. have many options for health insurance for children.
Health Insurance Exchanges
PPACA set up health insurance exchanges, which are online insurance marketplaces where people can easily compare plans and premiums from a variety of insurance companies. In addition, when purchasing insurance through an exchange, you could qualify for a tax credit depending on your income. Whether you are eligible for the subsidy or not, the exchanges are a great place to find health insurance for your kids.
The exchanges are run by the states, but if your state does not offer an exchange, you will buy through a federal marketplace.
If you are having trouble affording health insurance, you should check to see if you or your children are eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid helps pay the cost of health care for children from low income families. Eligibility is determined by each state, so check with your state’s Medicaid office to see if you can receive health insurance for children this way.
Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP)
But what if your family makes just enough to squeak over the Medicaid threshold? That’s where CHIP comes in. CHIP is health insurance for children that come from families that make too much for Medicaid, but still have trouble affording medical insurance. CHIP is run by the states and works in conjunction with Medicaid. Visit your state’s CHIP website for more information.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways to keep your kids insured so that you can have assistance in paying for the cost of their healthcare needs. Health insurance for children is vital to their growth and development, and when you look around you can find good plans at reasonable prices.