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There are few things as pure as a child’s happiness. A healthy child will giggle and run around all day without a care in the world. It’s difficult not to feed off their energy and feel happiness. But when a child is sick and in pain, it can be equally as heartbreaking.

We’ve taken great strides to improving health care options for everyone, but sometimes people still fall in between the cracks. There’s always a gray area when it comes to health care eligibility and those who need coverage. That’s why the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created.

The Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program that offers low-cost insurance for children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to purchase an adequate insurance plan for the family. There are even states that offer CHIP to parents or a pregnant mother.

Who Is Eligible for the Child Health Insurance Program?

The rules for CHIP qualifications differ from state to state, so it’s best to speak to a professional in your state to learn specific qualifications. However, unlike health insurance plans that has a set enrollment period, CHIP has rolling enrollment. You can apply at any time to discover if you qualify. If you do qualify, your coverage will start shortly after approval.

There are three methods to applying for CHIP.

  1. Contact a health insurance agent and discuss your health insurance options. Trained professionals will be able to answer your questions and get you the right information you need.
  2. Visit insurekidsnow.gov and select in your state. There you’ll be able to get details on your specific state as well as find a toll free number you can call for more information.
  3. A third option is to fill out an application on the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you’re child is eligible for CHIP (or if you’re eligible for Medicaid) your state’s agency will contact you about the next steps toward enrollment.

CHIP Costs and Coverage

The cost of CHIP will vary depending on your state. Standard visits to the doctor and dentist are free for children, but some states require copays for other services. Your state might even require a monthly premium. Despite different state policies, financial obligations are capped at 5% of a family’s total income.

As with the differing premiums you might pay based on your state, each state covers different services. However, standard across all the states are comprehensive services. Included in these services:

  • Routine check-ups
  • Immunizations
  • Doctor visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental and vision care
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Emergency services

Health insurance coverage is something politicians are constantly working to improve for the greater population. We’ve taken great strides in getting more Americans covered with the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Health care will always be a never ending turn style of legislation. Whatever may be happening politically, out of your hand, it’s important that you and your family are covered.

If you’re having trouble paying for health insurance for your child, be sure to look into your state’s CHIP program to see if you’re eligible and what costs are associated. Your child’s health isn’t something you want to risk. Further questions can be directed to an insurance agent for a more comprehensive look.

Image Courtesy of Brandon Morgan

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