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Health Insurance for Children: Affordable Options


Children's Health Insurance: Affordable Options

As a parent you want only the best for your children. Providing the best medical care possible will help them grow up healthy and strong and become successful adults.

Here are a few ways you can make sure your children have the insurance they need to get the medical care they deserve.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was enacted to give millions of American children health insurance. Started in 1997, CHIP is run through your state's Medicaid program and provides free or low-cost health insurance for children under 19. CHIP was designed for families who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but otherwise can't afford private insurance. After the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, Medicaid also expanded to cover more families; the same happened with CHIP.

Eligibility for CHIP is based on family income. Families that make up to 200 percent, or in some states, 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible to enroll their children in CHIP. For example, the 2016 poverty level for a family of four is $24,300, which means that familes with incomes of $48,600 or less (200 percent), or $72,900 or less (300 percent) are eligible.

According to HHS, 91 percent of eligible kids in the U.S. are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP programs. CHIP also covers dental care. Search to find a dentist in your area that accepts CHIP and Medicaid.

Options for Students

The ACA expanded the length that children are eligible for coverage under their parents' health insurance plan. If they have no other health insurance options, they can be covered by their parents' plan up to the age of 26, even if they're in college or already working.

The ACA also affected student health insurance plans. As a result, more colleges and universities offer health insurance for students. Sometimes the cost of student health insurance is less than what you would pay to keep your child on your current health insurance plan, making it an affordable way to provide health insurance for your college-age children. According to, your family can avoid the insurance penalty and satisfy the ACA requirement for acceptable coverage by enrolling them in a student health plan.

It is every parent's great hope that their children will grow up happy, healthy, and safe. Securing the best health insurance for children to cover doctor's visits, immunizations, and other medical care can help make sure those hopes become reality.