No child should go without health insurance. If a child is sick, the last thing a family needs to worry about is how they are going to pay for health services. All energy should be put into taking care of and helping their child get well. There is a huge portion of the population that makes a decent wage to support their family, but do not have health insurance or have to pay huge premiums in order to get coverage. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program can help take away those worries, such as certain organizations looking after children’s welfare: http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/11/04/therapeutic-foster-care-program-struggles-to-get-off-its-feet-in-yk-delta/
What is Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)?
“CHIP is a partnership between the federal and state governments that provides low-cost health coverage to a child in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid” (www.benefits.gov). This can be a blessing to families who do not qualify for free health care but can’t afford regular health insurance. Most employers offer health insurance to their full-time employees, but some people may be self-employed or work at a small business that cannot afford health insurance. This program can be a great fill-in for those people. In some states, this health insurance also covers pregnant women.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR CHIP?
Qualification for CHIP is based on income, family size, and the rules of your state. The individual who is receiving the services from this insurance must be under 19, cannot have any other health insurance coverage including Medicaid, and must be a U.S. national citizen, legal alien or permanent resident. This could be a huge relief for families who can afford individual health insurance premiums, but not a family plan. The children in the family are highly likely to qualify for CHIP.
IS THIS A FREE PROGRAM?
This is not a free program. Depending on income, families may need to pay a low percentage or cost sharing for some services. The federal and state government pays for the rest. If families have the option of paying a lower portion of their health insurance or full price, this is a great money saving option.
WHAT IS COVERED?
Each state has different benefits, but all states provide wide-ranging coverage, including yearly check-ups, immunization, doctor visits and prescriptions. Visit www.insurekidsnow.gov for specific state-by-state coverage. Another great benefit of CHIP is that it may also cover dental visits. You can find dentists in your area that accept CHIP on that same website. Good dental care is just as important as medical care.
GETTING THE WORD OUT
There are great resources on the www.insurekidsnow.gov website to get the word out, on social media or in print, about the CHIP program. This would be a great campaign for local community centers, schools, and child care centers to join to get coverage for the children that they work with who may not know that this coverage exists. There is a campaign called Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and its primary goal is to also get the word out about CHIP. There are many well-known non-profits and federal agencies that are part of this campaign including the Children’s Defense Fund, Easter Seals, March of Dimes, and Special Olympics to name just a few.
The website also has videos and webinars that explain the program and how to get the word out about the program. Anyone can access these videos in order to learn about the program and spread the word about it. If you are someone who didn’t know about this program and want others to learn about it, contact a community leader, school or medical center, and get them involved in spreading the word.