If you saw my recent post on our family's Health Insurance Headaches you know I've been doing a lot of research into health insurance options lately. I thought I'd pass on some information that might help some of you. In the United States, every state and territory provides low or no cost medical insurance coverage to uninsured children under a federal initiative called the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The program is paid for by both the Federal and State governments, but each state administers its own program, including (within Federal guidelines), determining eligibility, benefits, and payment levels.
The program was originally designed only to cover children, but has been extended to the parents of eligible children by a number of states. In my state parents of children 19 and younger can qualify for free coverage if they are under a certain income guideline, and for those earning slightly more there is a sliding scale of premiums. Some other states may require the parents to be already receiving public assistance or Medicaid. I mention it because it is worth checking your state's rules. So many people are temporarily out of work or their business has declined or other factors leave them unable to afford the insurance they once could.
I hope a few of you reading this are helped - or know someone else who could use this information. I know it's no help to those of you who don't have children, or whose children are grown, or who earn too much but still can't afford good health insurance. I hope we have a better system soon! If you live outside the US, I hope you live in one of those sensible countries with universal health coverage!
Healthcare clinic image courtesy of Daniel Lobo.