Applying for Low-Cost or Free Health Insurance for Your Children

Nov 15 2004 - 3:27pm

You probably have many questions about applying for low cost or free health insurance for your children. Here are some questions and answers to get you started.

I need health insurance for my children. What are my options?

Call 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) or go to Your State's Program . When you call our free and confidential hotline, you will be directly connected to your state's program that provides either free or low-cost health insurance for children. The states have different eligibility rules, but in most states, uninsured children 18 years old and younger whose families earn up to $34,100 a year (for a family of four) are eligible.

How can I get more information on my state's program?

Simply click on 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 speak with 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. As long as your children continue to meet the eligibility criteria established by your state, they can remain on the program.

What services does the insurance cover?

For little or no cost, this insurance pays for doctor visits, prescription medicines, hospitalizations, and much more. Most states also cover the cost of dental care, eye care, and medical equipment.

Is this program new?

In 1997 Congress passed legislation that allows states to provide health insurance to more children in working families. These programs build on the Medicaid program that started covering children and adults in the mid-1960's.

Is this a welfare program?

Children's health insurance programs are not welfare programs. Everyone has a stake in making sure America's children are healthy. These programs are designed to support working families and low-income families alike in providing health insurance to their children.

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 health insurance have a better chance of being healthy. Having health insurance will allow you to give them the medical care necessary for them to stay healthy and focus on their studies. Children with health insurance are less likely to miss school because they are sick. 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. Your child can 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.


How much does it cost?

Health insurance provided to children through these programs is free or low-cost. The costs are different depending on the state and your family's income, but when there are charges they are minimal. Call 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669) or go to Your State's Program to get the details.

Who pays for these health insurance programs?

Your tax dollars fund these state and federally sponsored programs. The state and federal governments want to help working families like yours protect their children's health and future. In some states you may need to pay a premium or co-payment for your children's health insurance.


Who can qualify for health insurance?


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In an effort to provide affordable medical insurance for my minor child, I called MNCare for information as to medical insurance for my daughter that did not live in with me and was told premiums were completely based on income. Unaware of the trap set for "absentee parents", once an application was completed for MNCare, a virtual"can-of-worms" opened up and now I am paying a heavy price. My childs mother (once my fiance' until this crap) and I have always worked together in raising our daughter without help outside of family. However, once that application for medical insurance through MNCare was completed, I am suddenly deemed a deadbeat dad; court-ordered 100% responsibe for medical expenses and forced to pay absorbanant medical premiums or else. The fact that I raised my oldest daughter on my own without help outside of family, means nothing. MY point: Why is it that medical insurance is "for-profit" and secondly; getting an honest answer or at least being warned of the pit-falls is unheard of?