Yes, health insurance for children is not just a good idea, but vital to that child and their family. Having health insurance provides a child with a foundation to a much healthier life long term. There are many insurance choices available to children including those in low-income families.
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It is also important for older children to have health coverage as well. Even college age kids should make getting health insurance a priority if they are not covered under their parent’s health plan.
Why is health insurance for children so important?
A child that grows up with health insurance is able to receive preventative medical care. Preventative medical care is very important because it can treat a small issue before it grows into a much larger and more expensive problem.
Vaccines are a great example of preventative medical care. Vaccines are very important for children, especially babies that are more susceptible to certain illnesses than adults are. Countries that do not have access to vaccines have a much higher child morbidity rate than countries that are able to provide this type of preventative care to their citizens.
Most people realize that babies need certain vaccines and that young children will not be able to attend public school without the necessary shots. When people think of important vaccines, things like mumps and measles come to mind, but very often people forget about the flu vaccine. Having a flu shot every year is very important, especially for small children. Depending on the number of children in a family having a plan that covers an annual flu shot, this could save them a lot of money over the years.
What type of health insurance is available to children in low-income families?
There are two programs available to children in low-income families. These two programs are Medicaid and CHIP. CHIP stands for Children’s Health Insurance Program and unlike Medicaid, applies exclusively to children. Both CHIP and Medicaid are state funded insurance programs. Even if an adult does not qualify for state funded health insurance, their children most likely do.
Many families do not receive health insurance through their employer and cannot afford to buy insurance on their own, but at the same time, their annual income disqualifies the adults from being eligible for state programs. In this type of situation the children will probably still be eligible for coverage.
These programs do not only apply to small children. These programs cover kids up to 19 years old. These programs cover the costs for:
- Regular doctors’ visits
- Dental care
- Hospital care
If a parent, guardian, or grandparent thinks the child is eligible for these programs they can enroll them.
Each state has their own criteria about who is eligible for these programs. To learn more about Medicaid and CHIP and what your state requires for enrollment you can go to Insure Kids Now for more information.
Why is health insurance important for older children?
Many times when people consider health insurance for children, they are thinking about babies and younger kids, because younger children are more likely to be sick and need regular health care. Babies are constantly going to the doctor for regular checkups and vaccinations.
Older children and teens also need to have adequate health insurance. While teens are less likely to get sick regularly, they are at a greater risk for accidents. Teens that drive or play sports in school are especially at risk. Teens tend to take chances that younger kids do not and are less supervised so they are more likely to be injured.
Teens are among the highest group when it comes to car accidents as well. This is mainly because they have less experience when it comes to driving. All it takes is one accident to decimate a family financially. Emergency hospital costs can add up very quickly and put a family deep in debt.
Student athletes are also a large source of accidents. Athletes often sustain serious injuries to their joints or ligaments, which may require some type of surgery. While the surgery costs are very expensive, most people do not always consider the cost of the physical therapy required after surgery. This care can be very expensive considering how long it is required.
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