When I think about expenses associated with raising a young family, the usual suspects come to mind: diapers, clothing, food, extracurricular activities we wouldn’t otherwise attend…
But these are all costs I can keep relatively under control. I coupon. I use retail stores. I shop sales. And I live in a great city for free events or admission deals.
The one cost that looms above all else is health care. Luckily our little ones are covered. But there’s many little ones out there who are not. I couldn’t even imagine trying to make the decision between a full doctor’s bill and a preventative doctor’s visit. Actually, I could. I’d make the visit. Even if it put my family into tons of credit card debt. But I can’t pretend that would be an easy decision to make. Even in the hypothetical.
Here’s the deal, though. There’s absolutely no reason your child shouldn’t have coverage. Even if you’re poor. Even if you’re self-employed. There are coverage options out there, and they’ve existed before ObamaCare even became an issue.
Obviously, the ideal option would be to just have affordable coverage. Through your employer. Or Medicaid. But that’s not always an option. And every child deserves to be able to go to the doctor when they’re sick and to receive preventative service in between.
The first option is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (or CHIP.) Every state has their own standards. In PA, children who are up to 19 years of age, are US citizens and Pennsylvania residents, and are uninsured qualify. You get not just medical coverage, but also dental (some orthodontics if it’s medically necessary,) eye care and other services. Let’s say you’re an average family and have 2.5 kids. We’ll round up to 3. We’ll pretend they’re all between ages one and five. If you make between $25,975 and $39,060, coverage is free. If you make between $39,061 and $58,590, you can get some kind of subsidized coverage. These numbers are only specific to this example. And only in Pennsylvania. If you’re in PA, check out the resources at the bottom to figure stuff out for your specific situation. If you’re not, do a google search and find out what the standards are for your state.
If you don’t qualify for CHIP because you don’t make enough money, you qualify for Medicaid. Full-coverage for your kids in most situations, although you are going to want to compare insurance providers as different providers will give you slightly different coverage. To find out about income guidelines and application for your state, get in contact with your state’s Department of Public Welfare office.
Remember, it’s not about your pride. It’s not about hating on the kids’ parents because they are unable to provide in the way every parent wants to. It’s about the kid. And their health.