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Find Free and Low-Cost Health Insurance Programs for Kids

Affordable Health Insurance Options

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According to an August 2007 report released by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled Protecting America's Future: A State-by-State Look at SCHIP and Uninsured Kids, 8,587,948 children were without health insurance during 2004-2005. That's 11% of America's children between the ages of 0 and 18.

Fortunately, if your children are currently uninsured, there are programs available to assist you. The two main options are Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program). Medicaid is geared toward low-income families, and insurance through SCHIP is available for those children who are uninsured, but whose parents earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

Medicaid
The first step, then, in obtaining health insurance for your children is to find out whether you qualify for Medicaid. In general, if your income is limited, you should apply for Medicaid services. A qualified caseworker will review your case to determine your eligibility and provide access to services.

Medicaid covers:
  • Pregnant women and their babies
  • Children under 18
  • In many states, children under 21
If you do not currently receive child support, Medicaid will also refer you to your local Office of Child Support Enforcement.

To apply for Medicaid, visit www.GovBenefits.gov.

SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program)
Children who do not qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for health insurance through SCHIP. SCHIP is a federally funded, but state-run, program. This means that each state sets its own eligibility criteria. In general, families whose income is approximately two times that of the federal poverty level are eligible for SCHIP. Some states have even expanded the program to include adults. To find out if your children qualify, visit www.InsureKidsNow.gov and select your state's program.

References:
  1. "Protecting America's Future: A State-by-State Look at SCHIP and Uninsured Kids." http://covertheuninsured.org. 9 Aug. 200. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 14 Aug. 2007 <http://covertheuninsured.org/pdf/americasfuture.pdf>.
  2. "SCHIP: It Works." Cover the Uninsured. 14 Aug. 2007 <http://covertheuninsured.org/factsheets/schipworks.pdf>.
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