How to Get Affordable Health Insurance for Kids

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Obtaining and keeping health insurance for your children can be a stressful task, as the cost of health care seems to rise constantly. Find the most affordable health insurance you can to keep your children covered in case of a medical emergency, or for routine check-ups. The type of coverage you desire, along with your budget, can determine which type of policies you find affordable. Every state offers low-cost coverage for children in lower income families.

Step 1

Determine whether your children are eligible for free health coverage through Medicaid or your state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). Medicaid is a no-cost service provided for the children of low-income families, while the CHIPRA program charges discounted premiums to working families. The guidelines and program name vary by state, but most states offer the low-cost coverage to families who earn up to 200 to 250 percent of the poverty wage. For example, a family of four could make up to $42,400 and pay the low cost of $320 per year in 2009 in Nevada.

Step 2

Assess your child’s health insurance needs if you don’t qualify for one of the government-funded free or low-cost plans. Emergency-only health insurance is much less expensive than a typical insurance plan, although routine visits, physicals and immunizations are not covered. Higher deductibles or higher co-payments are another way to decrease the amount of your monthly premium. Some higher deductible plans allow you to contribute to a tax deductible savings account for medical costs.

Step 3

Take advantage of COBRA options if you had insurance through your job, but lost it. COBRA coverage can get expensive, so make sure it’s your best option.

Step 4

Contact a health insurance broker in your area to compare local plans. When deciding on a plan, take into consideration any co-payments and deductibles you will have to pay and the prescription coverage, especially if any of your children are prone to illnesses, accidents or require expensive medication.

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