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.
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.
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.
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.
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.