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Finding Affordable Health Insurance For Kids

Don't let expensive price tags stop you from getting coverage for your kids. Here are the 5 cheapest health insurance options for your children.

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There is no question that as a parent one of your top priorities will always be doing whatever is in your power to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your children. However, not having the finances to afford health insurance for kids or not being aware of what resources are available to you can leave you unprepared to handle your child’s medical needs. Whether you are unsure how to determine your eligibility for federal healthcare programs or you are laying out all your options for making sure your child is covered, this guide is intended to help you choose an insurance for children that best fits your unique situation and needs.

Health Care for Kids Under a Family Plan

If you or your spouse already have health insurance through an employer, a Marketplace plan, or through an individual provider, you have the option to add dependents, including your children, to a family plan. While single policy plans only cover the insured applicant, family plans give you the choice to bundle all qualified family members.

There are several benefits of going this route. For one, family plans are often significantly more affordable than purchasing an individual policy for each person in the family. Additionally, having all family members under the same plan simplifies the process of finding a medical provider as everyone has access to the same network. Family health plans can also mean less out-of-pocket costs since there is a family deductible in addition to each policy member’s individual deductible. Once the family deductible is met, all members are eligible for benefits.

Options for Family Plans

If you choose to get health insurance for children by adding them to a family plan, there are several ways you can do so. For one, you can choose a family plan during the Open Enrollment Period, which may land you a premium tax credit depending on your income level. Additionally, providers cannot deny you or child coverage based on medical history due to the Affordable Care Act . You can also apply for a family plan through a private insurer.

FirstQuote Health can match you with a licensed insurance provider that will help you to select the best coverage options if you’re looking for health insurance for kids, or a family health insurance policy.

Employer-Sponsored Plan

Another common way people access family plans is through insurance provided by an employer. Currently, the ACA requires that all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer affordable health coverage to all of their full-time employees. Known as the employer mandate , if requirements are not met the business will be faced with a penalty. Under this act, employers must also offer coverage for the employee’s children until they reach the age of 26, but the employer does not need to pay the premium for any dependents. Additionally, it is not required for the employer to offer coverage for a spouse.

However, employers often offer competitive benefits as a hiring incentive and employee-retention measure. Additionally, many businesses genuinely care about the health of their employees and wish to reap the benefits of a healthy workforce. For this reason, companies may choose to still provide their employees with family plans which can include both their dependents and spouse for an affordable price.

Finding Individual Health Insurance Plans for Your Kids

You may be interested in enrolling in separate health insurance for your kids if you have not insured yourself or your employer does not offer a bundled plan that includes your child at a cost you can afford. Just like family plans, medical insurance for kids can be purchased either through Obamacare or from a private insurance company.

Make sure to watch from the Open Enrollment Period if looking for an affordable plan on the Marketplace, or learn if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which may apply to you if your child was just born, adopted, or fostered into your household. If you qualify for a federal subsidy and need compressive coverage, HealthCare.gov may be the more affordable choice. Additionally, some private health insurance providers may allow you to sign up for health insurance for kids at any time of year.

When To Consider Private Health insurance For Child-Only

  • Open Enrollment has ended, and you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • You don’t qualify for an ACA subsidy.
  • You are looking for affordable health coverage for your child.

Low-Income Federal Health Insurance for Kids

For families that qualify, there are two federal assistance programs that provide affordable childrens health insurance plans for free or a very low premium: Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While there are several different populations of people who can potentially benefit from Medicaid, CHIP is specifically for children who need coverage.

Medicaid

If in financial need, paying for insurance for you or your child can be near impossible to do. Medicaid is funded at both the federal and state levels, and the exact qualifications vary by state. While people can apply for this program at any time, the application process may be lengthy.

Your income is the main factor that determines if you are eligible to enroll your child in Medicaid. Each state has its own Modified Adjusted Gross Income you must meet to apply. While coverage is expanding in many states, there are other qualifications to consider if you meet your state’s income requirements:

  • Pregnant women and their newborn child
  • Parents of children
  • Teenagers living on their own, which extends to 21 years old in some states
  • People with a disability or medical needs

Medicaid FAQs

How do I apply for Medicaid for my child?

You have two options when applying for Medicaid. You can fill out your application through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and your local state agency will be notified if you qualify. Or, you can contact your state’s agency directly to get more information and apply.

When does Medicaid end for a child?

In all states, children who continue to meet family income requirements can be covered by Medicaid until they are at least 19 years old. Some states have an age limit as high as 21 years old. For children who reach adulthood while in foster care, Medicaid is available until they reach 26 years old regardless of income.

Can my child get Medicaid if I have insurance?

Yes, your child does not need to be put on your insurance plan and can still receive Medicaid. It is not uncommon for one parent or both parents to have coverage through their employer but not have an affordable option for their dependents. As long as the income requirements and other qualifications are met, you can still enroll your child in the program.

Can a child have Medicaid and private insurance?

Even if you already have private health insurance for kids, you can still get Medicaid for your child. However, in this situation, Medicaid would become your child’s secondary insurance. This means that their private insurance would be billed first and that Medicaid would then pick up whatever is left. This also applies if your child has another insurance plan under your or your spouse’s employer. While your child can have a Marketplace plan at the same time, eligibility for Medicaid means you no longer qualify for plans with premium tax credits and other savings.

Children’s Health Insurance Program

The CHIP is a great option for parents that don’t qualify for Medicare that are seeking cheap health insurance for kids. While there is still a monthly premium with this program that varies from state to state, the cost will never amount to more than 5% of your family’s annual income. Like Medicaid, CHIP offers comprehensive benefits and can take form as a Medicaid Expansion, a separate CHIP program, or a combination program. It is up to each individual state how they wish to design this program and what the income qualifications are.

CHIP can be enrolled in at any time, and you do not need to wait for your child’s coverage to begin. In some states, pregnant women may be able to qualify for this program for covering prenatal care, labor and delivery, and newborn care. You can apply for CHIP through the Health Insurance Marketplace or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

When To Consider CHIP

  • You can’t afford health insurance.
  • You qualify for the program based on your income level.
  • Your child needs access to a wider range of benefits.

What is the maximum income to qualify for CHIP?

The income limit will depend on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for your region. For more information you can find additional data at the bottom of this page.

LocationAges 0-18 Income Limit
Alabama317%
AlaskaN/A
Arizona205.%
Arkansas216%
CaliforniaN/A
Colorado265%
Connecticut323%
Delaware217%
District of ColumbiaN/A
Florida215%
Georgia252%
HawaiiN/A
Idaho190%
Illinois318%
Indiana262%
Iowa307%
Kansas240%
Kentucky218.%
Louisiana255.%
Maine213%
MarylandN/A
Massachusetts305%
MichiganN/A
MinnesotaN/A
Mississippi214%
Missouri305%
Montana266%
NebraskaN/A
Nevada205.%
New HampshireN/A
New Jersey355%
New MexicoN/A
New York405%
North Carolina216%
North DakotaN/A
OhioN/A
OklahomaN/A
Oregon305%
Pennsylvania319%
Rhode IslandN/A
South CarolinaN/A
South Dakota209%
Tennessee255.%
Texas206%
Utah205.%
VermontN/A
Virginia205.%
Washington317%
West Virginia305%
Wisconsin306%
Wyoming205.%

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Options for Parents

It is not uncommon for parents to be ineligible for Medicare themselves but to have their children qualify for CHIP. Children who qualify for CHIP are not eligible for Marketplace savings; however, parents still are. Additionally, private insurance and employer-provided coverage are other potential options.

Short-Term Medical Insurance for Kids

If you are recently unemployed, missed open enrollment, or cannot access long-term health insurance for kids for any other reason, short-term insurance can help fill in the gap and cover your child in the case of an emergency. While these plans only used to available for 90 days, they have been extended to 12 months and can be renewed for up to three years. Your child must be over two years old to qualify, and plans do not include preventative care services. While short-term plans are not available through the Marketplace, you can access these policies through private insurers.

When To Consider Short-Term Coverage

  • Your child meets the necessary age requirements.
  • You can’t afford marketplace or other qualifying coverage options.
  • Your child is currently uninsured and needs coverage fast.
  • You don’t need access to major benefits, like preventive services.

Catastrophic Coverage for Children

Similar to short-term health care, catastrophic coverage is limited in what it will cover. Additionally, the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum are much higher with this type of policy, and coverage may be less than 60% one the deductible is met. The monthly premium is often much lower than other types of plans. People who are interested in catastrophic health insurance must either qualify for a hardship exemption or be under 30 years old. While a history of illness does not exempt you for this coverage, if your child has a poor medical history this is likely not an affordable option for your needs.

When To Consider Catastrophic Coverage

  • You are looking for an affordable policy.
  • You aren’t concerned with comprehensive benefits.
  • You have a health savings account (HSA) to help cover out-of-pocket costs.

Find Affordable Health Insurance Quotes For Children

While having several options for childrens health care gives you a better chance at choosing a policy that fits your budget and coverage needs, it can be stressful to navigate your options and make a decision on what plan is really best for your family. FirstQuote Health does the hard work of comparing health insurance plans for you, so you can narrow down your choices and find the right level of insurance coverage for your child.

Get quotes on medical insurance for children in an instant to save money and time. Enter your zip code and fill out our online form to find plans that are available near you. Make sure to indicate that you are searching for plans the whole family can benefit from, so you can find policies that will work for you and your child. To speak with one of our agents, skip the online process and call us directly at 858-295-3438.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I just get health insurance for my child?

Yes. There are health insurance plans designed to fit the needs of your children. If you’re not in need of health insurance for family, programs like CHIP offer government subsidized children’s health insurance. However there are income limits that you’ll need to qualify for in order to be eligible for CHIP or Medicaid for a child.

The private health insurance market has options available as well through many health insurance providers that will provide the services and benefits that you need in order to provide medical insurance for your kids.

What’s the best health insurance for kids?

The cheapest insurance policy doesn’t always provide the best level of care or services. We suggest taking a look at multiple plan options, including government programs like CHIP or Medicaid in addition to private medical insurance providers like the companies that FirstQuote Health works with, such as UnitedHealth Care, Kaiser Permanente, and hundreds of other reputable insurance providers. The easiest way to find the best medical insurance for kids is to request a free quote from FirstQuote Health. We will match you with providers that can provide low-cost coverage for your child in just a few minutes.

How do I get health insurance for my child?

There are many options available, you can apply for CHIP by calling 1-800-318-2596, or to compare multiple providers and affordable medical insurance quotes for kids we recommend using our free medical insurance quote tool to match you with licensed insurance agents that will guide you in selecting the best coverage options for kids medical insurance plans. Child-Only plans are available, in addition to plans that cover your entire family.

Is it possible to get child-only health insurance?

Child-Only health coverage is available through both private health insurance providers such as United Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Molina, and Kaiser. To ensure that you’re getting the best possible coverage for your child at an affordable rate we suggest you check for quotes from many providers to compare services and plan details. A health insurance agent can guide you in this process by collecting the plan information and quotes for you, saving you both time and money.

What health insurance providers offer child-only insurance?

  • Molina
  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • United Health Care

and many other providers offer great child-only health insurance options for children and families.

Data Tables For CHIP Income Guidelines

The below values are based on the Federal Poverty Limit for your area. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

LocationAges 0-1 MedicaidAges 0-1 CHIP
Alabama146%
Alaska177%159%-208%
Arizona152%
Arkansas147%
California208%208%-266%
Colorado147%
Connecticut201.%
Delaware217%194%-217%
District of Columbia324%206%-324%
Florida211%192%-211%
Georgia210%
Hawaii191%191%-313%
Idaho147%
Illinois147%
Indiana218.%157%-218%
Iowa380%240%-380%
Kansas171%
Kentucky200%
Louisiana142%142%-217%
Maine196%
Maryland194%194%-322%
Massachusetts205.%185%-205%
Michigan195%195%-217%
Minnesota275%275%-288%
Mississippi199%
Missouri201.%
Montana148%
Nebraska162%162%-218%
Nevada165%
New Hampshire196%196%-323%
New Jersey199%
New Mexico240%200%-305%
New York223%
North Carolina215%194%-215%
North Dakota147%147%-175%
Ohio156%141%-211%
Oklahoma210%169%-210%
Oregon190%133%-190%
Pennsylvania220.%
Rhode Island190%190%-266%
South Carolina194%194%-213%
South Dakota187%147%-187%
Tennessee195%195%-216%
Texas203.%
Utah144%
Vermont317%237%-317%
Virginia148%
Washington215%
West Virginia163%
Wisconsin306%
Wyoming159%

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LocationAges 1-5 MedicaidAges 1-5 CHIP
Alabama146%
Alaska177%159%-208%
Arizona146%
Arkansas147%
California142%142%-266%
Colorado147%
Connecticut201.%
Delaware147%
District of Columbia324%146%-324%
Florida145%
Georgia154%
Hawaii139%139%-313%
Idaho147%
Illinois147%
Indiana165%141%-165%
Iowa172%
Kansas154%
Kentucky142%142%-164%
Louisiana142%142%-217%
Maine162%140%-162%
Maryland138%138%-322%
Massachusetts155%133%-155%
Michigan160%143%-217%
Minnesota280%
Mississippi148%
Missouri148%148%-155%
Montana148%
Nebraska145%145%-218%
Nevada165%
New Hampshire196%196%-323%
New Jersey147%
New Mexico240%200%-305%
New York154%
North Carolina215%141%-215%
North Dakota147%147%-175%
Ohio156%141%-211%
Oklahoma210%151%-210%
Oregon138%
Pennsylvania162%
Rhode Island142%142%-266%
South Carolina143%143%-213%
South Dakota187%147%-187%
Tennessee142%142%-216%
Texas149%
Utah144%
Vermont317%237%-317%
Virginia148%
Washington215%
West Virginia146%
Wisconsin191%
Wyoming159%

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LocationAges 6-18 MedicaidAges 6-18 CHIP
Alabama146%107%-146%
Alaska177%124%-208%
Arizona138%104%-138%
Arkansas147%107%-147%
California133%108%-266%
Colorado147%108%-147%
Connecticut201.%
Delaware138%110%-138%
District of Columbia324%112%-324%
Florida138%112%-138%
Georgia138%113%-138%
Hawaii133%105%-313%
Idaho138%107%-138%
Illinois147%108%-147%
Indiana165%106%-165%
Iowa172%122%-172%
Kansas138%113%-138%
Kentucky133%109%-164%
Louisiana142%108%-217%
Maine162%132%-162%
Maryland133%109%-322%
Massachusetts155%114%-155%
Michigan160%109%-217%
Minnesota280%
Mississippi138%107%-138%
Missouri148%110%-155%
Montana133%109%-148%
Nebraska133%109%-218%
Nevada138%122%-138%
New Hampshire196%196%-323%
New Jersey147%107%-147%
New Mexico190%138%-245%
New York154%110%-154%
North Carolina138%107%-138%
North Dakota133%111%-175%
Ohio156%107%-211%
Oklahoma210%115%-210%
Oregon138%100%-138%
Pennsylvania138%119%-138%
Rhode Island133%109%-266%
South Carolina133%107%-213%
South Dakota187%111%-187%
Tennessee133%109%-216%
Texas138%101%-138%
Utah138%105%-138%
Vermont317%237%-317%
Virginia148%109%-148%
Washington215%
West Virginia138%108%-138%
Wisconsin133%101%-156%
Wyoming138%119%-138%

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