Getting Inexpensive Medical Insurance for Children

Medical insurance for children is critical. Even the healthiest children will require medical care for normal childhood conditions. Healthy children are active, which makes them more prone to minor accidents and injuries. It is rare for most children to go without the need for medical care for any significant period of time. In difficult economic times, finding inexpensive medical insurance for children can be a challenge. Here are a few possible alternatives.

Government Sponsored Insurance

Families that are in lowest income brackets can qualify for government sponsored insurance. Even though there are other factors, income is the primary factor. The insurance is jointly funded by federal and state governments and has little, or no cost, for children who qualify. Generally, children who live in families with incomes under the federal poverty level will qualify. The federal and state governments also jointly administer this program. Therefore, each state plan has a unique set of benefits and rules. Alll plans usually cover preventive care, physicians and hospital visits. Most plans also cover vision and dental care as well.


The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created to meet the needs of families who are above the federal poverty, but lack sufficient income to purchase their own family health insurance. It is also a government-sponsored program. Federal and state governments jointly administer the program as well. Within certain parameters, each state determines benefits and eligibility and has flexibility in the plan design. However, this programs a little different because it requires that preventive care be provided at no cost to participants. Other services may require that participants share in the cost by paying premiums and co-payments.

Private Insurance Programs

Private insurance is an option for families that are unable to meet the income restrictions imposed by government programs. These plans generally fall into two categories. The first type is a Health Maintenance organization (HMO). These plans vary in how they are designed. However, most require members to choose a doctor from a list. It is also common for the primary doctor to approve any visits to see specialists. Many of these plans operate out of a centralized location.

The second type of a plan is the traditional fee for service or indemnity plan. In these plans, patients may choose their own doctors and may not be required to receive an approval to see a specialist. However, both of these individual plans provide less benefits than the typical group plans provided by employers. The major difference is that the individual plans will require that the member pay much more out of pocket expenses. Therefore, the trade off is an affordable premium. The real value of these policies is that they address major expenses. These plans do little in bearing much of the cost of routine and preventive care.