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When it comes to what’s important in life, nothing compares to your family, especially your children. As a parent, you want to do everything you can in your power to not only provide for them but take care of their health needs. That’s why we’ve decided to put together a list of the best health insurance for children, including 6 of the best coverage options on the market in 2020.
Can You Purchase Child-Only Health Insurance?
Yes, there are more than a handful of child-only insurance options for kids, and here’s why it’s good you get your child enrolled sooner rather than later.
First, children are adventurous and fearless, a combination that will inevitably lead to an accident or two. Even if you’re not covered yourself, signing your child up for a health insurance plan specially designed for kids, will bring you peace of mind, and afford them access to the necessary care they need.
Nobody wants to be without coverage, and we understand that. We recognize the difficult choices that go into every decision you make, and sometimes insurance for your kids is something that isn’t financially feasible.
If the price is a factor, don’t worry. While our list of the most affordable health insurance options for kids includes private options, we also include government programs that may not cost you a penny. So, without any further ado, let’s get started with our 6 cheapest health insurance options for children.
1. Short-Term Health Insurance For Kids
Cheap and affordable, short-term health insurance is a great way to get your child the coverage they need if they are over the age of 2 years old. While these plans may not offer as many benefits as traditional policies, they will keep your kid protected if they are ever in need.
Short-term coverage may have been temporary in the past, but under the current administration’s new guidelines, these plans can be used to keep your loved ones covered for up to a full year. There are plenty of trusted, big-name insurers that offer short-term coverage for your child, which makes finding a plan easier than ever.
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.
2. Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The Children’s Health Insurance Program was designed to provide comprehensive coverage for kids from low-income households. It is a viable option for families and children who qualify and maybe the cheapest medical insurance option for children.
Living under the umbrella of Medicaid, CHIP does get its own funding as well. Currently, the insurance for kids program is funded by the federal governments, but it’s actually the states that run and dictate the program’s policies as they see fit. This includes almost all aspects of CHIP, including criteria for eligibility.
Even though eligibility may vary between states, generally speaking, if a family’s income is two times the federal poverty level, then their kids would automatically qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If you’re curious if your child is eligible for CHIP, you can visit Insure Kids Now, and select the state you live in for eligibility guidelines.
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.
Medicare For Children
Some children may not be eligible for CHIP, but that doesn’t mean they are disqualified from government healthcare programs altogether. If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, there’s a chance your child may be eligible for Medicaid.
Unlike the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid for children is run solely at the state level. For that reason, you may find that eligibility criteria and benefits differ depending on your place of residence. If you’re curious as to which program is right for you, you can start your search with Medicaid’s official website.
3. ACA Marketplace Plans
The Obamacare marketplace is alive and well and is a perfect place to start your search for the best child-only health insurance plans. Although this year’s enrollment period has passed, it’s never too early to start prepping for Open Enrollment 2021.
The ACA marketplace, also known as the exchange, has given new life to the meaning of affordable coverage for those who qualify for subsidies. What’s even better if your child can’t be denied coverage, or even charged a higher premium based on medical history.
Subsidized coverage is a major lifeline for qualifying families, and the criteria for eligibility is way more lenient than Medicaid and CHIP. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 15 million American families are eligible for subsidized health coverage through the marketplace, while only about 60% of families take advantage of it. If you’re looking for affordable health insurance for your kids, then the marketplace has tons of options available for you.
When To Consider Marketplace Plans
- You are looking for comprehensive coverage for your child.
- You qualify for federal subsidies.
- Your child has a pre-existing or chronic health condition.
- It is Open Enrollment, or you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
4. Private Health Insurance For Children
Number four on our list may come as a shock, but if you’re having difficulty finding affordable child-only plans, then you may want to try the private sector.
In order for private insurers to make money, they need to fill their risk pool with a healthy mix of individuals with a low chance of liability, and kids tend to fit that bill. Kids are young, active, and typically healthy, which is exactly why health insurance companies want them to be part of their risk pool.
If you don’t qualify for financial assistance from the government, or through the marketplace, then private is definitely the right option for you. You may be surprised at just how inexpensive health insurance plans can be, especially for your young ones.
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.
5. Child-Only Catastrophic Coverage
Don’t be thrown off by the name, these health insurance plans do more than just keep you covered in the event of a catastrophe.Catastrophic health insurance plans are a product of the Affordable Care Act, but aren’t available to just anyone. However, for anyone who is eligible, these plans are a must.
Catastrophic health plans are designed for those who are young and healthy. They offer low monthly premiums in exchange for higher out-of-pocket expenses. While the trade-off could end up being more expensive in the long run, for children, these plans often times end up saving you a fortune.
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.
6. Staying On Your Family Plan
Enrolling in a family health insurance plan will often allow you to add dependents at a lower cost than finding child-only coverage. For example, if you choose to bundle your cable and service provider, you will more than likely save more money than opting for different providers for each service. The same rings true for family health plans. Since you’re most likely paying for health insurance, this option makes the number two spot on our list.
How Long Kids Can Stay On Parent Plans
The good news is that your kids can stay on your plan until they aren’t really kids anymore. Under the Affordable Care Act, or as you may know it, Obamacare, children can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until they are 26 years old.
Can Both Parents Insure The Same Kid?
In short, yes, your child can be insured by both parents individually. However, one policy will be considered the primary, while the other is considered secondary. That means benefits from the first plan will be used first, and then the secondary plan will kick into to cover any remaining costs.
When To Consider Staying On Your Plan
- You have a family plan that offers great benefits.
- Adding a dependent is cheaper than alternative options.
- You want your child to have access to comprehensive coverage.
Find Affordable Health Insurance Quotes For Children
If you’re looking to get started with your search for cheap health insurance for your kids, try FirstQuote Health.
As one of the leading quoting tools, FirstQuote Health not only takes your needs into consideration but helps you find available plans in your area. By entering your zip code, and answering a few questions to help us narrow your search, you will be able to quickly and easily compare health insurance quotes for kids in your area.