Sunday, October 20, 2013

State funded health insurance for your child

State Funded Health Insurance for Your Child

Health care is one of those services that everyone needs, especially children. Yet, like in many other countries, the United States does not provide either federal or state blanket medical coverage for children.

For a lot of parents, the answer is individual or job-based health care insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many of these plans aren’t as comprehensive as people might think, and your child may not be covered. If that is the case, you will have to increase your coverage or look to state-funded health insurance, which can provide medical insurance security for children of working families – those who may earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid assistance but not enough to realistically handle medical care or even ongoing private insurance.

Medicaid is a federally-funded program aimed at assisting low-income families get the medical attention they need. Medicaid-insured families may also receive access to discounted prescription drugs.

Each state has its own version of Medicaid delivery. There are many Internet resources available to guide you through the intricacies of Medicaid in your state, or you can call your local Medicaid office or your state representative’s office for more information.

Ask how much income you can earn before being disqualified from Medicaid coverage, and what the guidelines are for determining income for Medicaid assessment and qualification purposes.

Figures from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services indicate that while a higher percentage of children are now enrolled in Medicaid insurance programs (nearly 20 percent, up from under 16 percent in the late 1980s), the percentage of children who have no health insurance coverage at all has also jumped from 13.1 percent to 15.4 percent. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website suggests fewer children being eligible for coverage under company-sponsored plans is behind a large part of the increase.

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, was created in 1997 so that each state could provide medical health insurance to children under the age of 19 who are not otherwise covered under a health care insurance plan. State Children’s Health Insurance Program guidelines and eligibility vary widely from state to state, so you will have to find out the specifications for where you live, but generally children under the age of 19, who are part of a family with an annual income of up to $36,200 per year are eligible for services such as physician visits, hospitalization, immunizations, prescriptions, and emergency room treatment. For children who qualify, there is no cost or only a nominal fee for these services. Again, depending on in which state you live, coverage may also extend to eye care, dental care and medical equipment.

Literally millions of children are covered by SCHIP every year, but there are millions of others who do not have health care insurance. Uninsured children are unlikely to receive adequate medical attention, which can be cost prohibitive, leaving them at risk for serious illness and health conditions.

Children of immigrant or alien families are among those kids who are often lacking medical insurance thanks to fears that an individual’s or a family’s immigration status will be adversely affected if their children are enrolled in Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance. The only case in which immigration officials consider a child’s participation in a government-funded health care program is if the child requires long-term care, such as in a mental health facility or nursing home. There may be certain limitations on some services, such as long-term care, but for the most part, using government insurance to protect the health of their children is risk-free for immigrants hoping to obtain a green card.

Regardless of your financial or other status, it is vital that children receive proper medical attention from the time they are born until they are old enough to look after their own needs. This includes responsive medical care such as treatment of illness, disease and trauma, as well as regular preventative care such as vaccinations, checkups and nutritional monitoring. It has become a clich©, but children really are the future, and with proper medical care and attention now, that future can be one with a lot of healthy people who create far less strain on American’s already burdened healthcare system. Think of health insurance for children as an investment in the future.


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