“Connecting Kids to Coverage”

“Connecting Kids to Coverage”

The federal government and the states together offer health insurance coverage for children through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs serve families who are not able to afford health insurance coverage in the private market or do not have coverage available to them.

Every state’s program is unique and has individual income eligibility rules and benefits covered, but in general, children in families with incomes up to $44,100 per year (for a family of four) are likely to be eligible for coverage.

Click on the map for state-specific information about Medicaid and CHIP programs.

Medicaid and CHIP cover doctor visits, dental care, prescription medicines and immunizations, as well as services like hospitalizations and care for children with special health care needs. There may be premiums or other cost sharing associated with this coverage, but the programs are designed to be affordable.

Thanks to the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), signed by President Obama on February 4, 2009, the Medicaid and CHIP programs have more funding available than ever before to provide coverage to uninsured children and make sure they stay enrolled and have access to high quality care.

I need health insurance for my children. What are my options?
The states have different eligibility rules, but in most states, uninsured children 18 years old and younger whose families earn up to $44,100 per year (for a family of four) are eligible. Call 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) or click on the map to get to the web site for your state’s Program. When you call our free and confidential hotline, you will be directly connected to your state’s program that provides low-cost health insurance for children.

How can I get more information on my state’s program?
Simply click on the map to get to the website for your state’s Program or call the Insure Kids Now hotline at 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669). The call is free and confidential. When you call, you will be connected directly to someone from the children’s health insurance program in your state. They can send you an application and help you apply.

Is there a limit on the amount of time my child can remain enrolled?
Your child can stay on the program as long as he or she qualifies. Although there is no limit on the amount of time your child can remain on the program, you will need to renew their coverage periodically, generally every 6 to 12 months, in most states once a year. The state will contact you to let you know that it is time to renew your coverage.. As long as your children continue to meet the eligibility criteria established by your state, they can remain on the program as long as you send in the updated information.

What services does the insurance cover?
This insurance pays for doctor visits, dental care, prescription medicines, hospitalizations, and much more. See your State’s web site for a list of covered services.

Is this program new?
Medicaid has been around since 1965. In February 2009, President Obama signed legislation that added a lot of new funding for the Medicaid and CHIP programs, with a special focus on enrolling kids that have been eligible but have not signed up for coverage. States have expanded and changed their programs over the years, and in many cases, CHIP and Medicaid are easier than ever to apply for.

I’m not applying for this program, but I’d like to get involved. How can I help?
To help other families learn more about available health insurance for their children, go to Help Us Spread the Word.


Why is health insurance for children and teens important?
Children who have health insurance generally have better health throughout their childhood and into their teens. They are more likely to:

* Receive needed shots that prevent disease;
* Get treatment for recurring illnesses such as ear infections and asthma;
* Get preventative care to keep them well;
* Get sick less often; and
* Get the treatment they need when they are sick.

How does having health insurance affect my child’s ability to learn?
Children who have insurance have a better chance of being healthy. Having health insurance will allow your kids to get the medical and dental care they need to stay healthy. Children with health insurance are less likely to miss school because they are sick and kids who are feeling healthy have an easier time focusing on their studies. By helping them go to school every day ready to learn, you can help boost your child’s performance in school today and in the future.

How will having insurance help my child stay healthy?
You’ll be able to pick a doctor for your child and see that doctor every time your child gets sick, without having to worry about how you are going to pay for it. With health insurance, your child will be able to get immunizations and well-child visits required to attend school and play sports. If your child gets sick, you can get prescription medicines to help him or her get better fast. Finally, you won’t have to sit for hours in the emergency room when your child has an illness that could be easily treated in your doctor’s office.


Who pays for these health insurance programs?
Your tax dollars fund these state and federally sponsored programs. Your state and federal governments want to help working families like yours protect their children’s health and invest in their future. And families also pay for part of the cost of CHIP and Medicaid coverage, depending on your income.

I have teenagers. Are they eligible, too?
Yes, in every state, all children from birth until their nineteenth birthday are eligible for coverage if your income is below $44,100 per year (for a family of four) in 2010 and in most states, to much higher levels. Click on the map to go to the web site for your state’s program. Remember each state has its own program.

I have a job. Can my children still qualify?
The majority of children covered by these health insurance programs come from working families. Many working families who cannot afford or whose children are not covered through your job or other private health insurance, may be eligible. To find out if your children may be eligible, call 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) or click on the map to find your state’s Program.

Who can apply for health insurance for my child?
In addition to parents, in many states, grandparents and legal guardians can also enroll children in their care for free or low-cost health insurance. Call 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) or go to the Web site for your State’s Program to find out the rules for your state. Your call will be free and confidential.

What if my children are covered by Medicaid already?
If your children are currently on Medicaid, they already have comprehensive health insurance. If you are having trouble seeing a doctor or getting a needed service, please contact your caseworker or your state Medicaid program.

What if my state tells me that my children are eligible for Medicaid but I don’t want to enroll them in Medicaid? Can I qualify for another insurance program?
Medicaid and CHIP have two sets of income eligibility rules that vary by state. Your state eligibility representative will explain which program is right for your and give you the opportunity to enroll. If your child is eligible for Medicaid, s/he will be entitled to a comprehensive set of health benefits. Please call the toll-free hotline 1-877-KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) to discuss your questions and concerns with someone from your state.

How do I apply?
In most states, you can complete a short application and send it through the mail. Call 1-877 KIDS NOW (877-543-7669) States have many different options for applying for coverage so you won’t have to take time off of work. The first step is to call the phone number, or check on line, and in most cases you can print off the application and mail it in. Many states also take applications over the phone and some states even allow families to enroll on line. Click on the map to find out more information about CHIP and Medicaid in your state. | 1-877-Kids-Now (1-877-543-7669)


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