Kids' Health Insurance Cheaper Than You Think

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Cross-posted at

When Los Angeles single mother of two "Nadia" learned that close to 5 million children actually qualified for free or heavily reduced health insurance and didn’t have it, she was astounded. "I don’t understand that," she said. "It’s an easy program to understand. It really isn’t complicated at all."

For more than five years, Nadia’s two children, ages 12 and 5, have been insured through California’s Healthy Families Program. For $42 a month and a $5 or $10 co-pay per visit -- fees are based on household income -- her two children receive health, dental and vision insurance.  

"Even if you don’t qualify for Medi-Cal, your children should at least qualify for Healthy Families," Nadia said. "Your premiums are based on what you earn."

Sadly, there are 700,000 uninsured children in California who qualify for the Healthy Families Program, but are not enrolled, often because their parents don’t know about the program. An additional 4.3 million children in the United States also qualify for health insurance through Medicaid or CHIP, yet they are uninsured.

This is why is helping spread the good news this holiday season: millions of children can get health insurance. Their parents just need to enroll them. Here is what you can do to help: forward this link to your family and friends, and let them know that they can help provide health insurance for their own children or a child that they know. (Para servicio en español, visite o llame a 1-877-543-7669 y pregunte por alguien que hable español.)

From Nadia’s point of view, enrolling is as easy as downloading an application off the Internet and filling it out. And it’s also easy to enroll without going online. Parents and guardians can simply call 1-877-KIDS-NOW to find out if they are eligible for heavily subsidized, if not, free healthcare for their children in their home state.

Every year, Nadia receives a reminder from the state to re-enroll her children. "I can’t believe that many kids are uninsured," she kept saying throughout the interview.

Nadia, by the way, qualified even though she works part-time and has health insurance for herself through her job and receives child support.

"What single mother, who can barely afford her own health insurance, can afford to add $400 or $500 a month to insure her children?" she said. "Healthy Families is a great program. I don’t understand why more people don’t reach out to them."