(StatePoint) As a new school year kicks into gear, make sure your child is ready to safely return to in-person learning and extracurricular activities. This means being on top of routine medical visits and ensuring they are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases (like measles and mumps). While parents may have delayed their children’s vaccinations and preventive care due to the COVID-19 outbreak, medical offices and clinics are taking extra steps to see children safely during this time. Call to schedule an appointment today. And if your child is 12 years or older and hasn’t received their COVID-19 vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible. If your children don’t currently have health insurance, it is not too late to get them covered!
Nationwide, millions of school-aged children and teens qualify — and are enrolled — in free or low-cost health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These health programs can provide vital access to care, including well-child visits and vaccinations, to keep students focused on learning and give parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children are covered inside and outside the classroom. The start of the school year is a good opportunity to catch up on important well-child visits and ensure children are up-to-date on their immunizations. Vaccinations, such as those for seasonal influenza, measles and mumps, are particularly important this year, and are covered for children by Medicaid and CHIP. Not only can routine vaccinations, as well as the COVID-19 vaccination, protect children from getting sick and developing serious complications, they can also protect others who may be vulnerable to serious illness, such as babies and other young children, older people, and people with pre-existing health conditions.
Studies have shown that academic performance and health insurance go hand in hand. Children who have health coverage miss fewer classes and perform better in school than those who are uninsured. But health coverage doesn’t just benefit students. Fewer missed days of school also mean fewer missed days of work for parents. With health coverage, children can get the routine and emergency care, immunizations, check-ups, eye exams, dental visits and mental health services they may need to fully participate in school and remain engaged in class. Health coverage also provides access to important care if children get sick or injured.
Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost coverage for eligible children and teens up to age 19. Eligibility is dependent on household size and income and varies by state. States have different income eligibility rules, but in most states, children with family income up to $50,000 per year (for a family of four) may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. In many states, family income can be even higher and children can still qualify. Young people up to 21 may be eligible for Medicaid. And if your family is currently receiving the monthly child tax credit, this does not affect your ability to qualify for Medicaid and CHIP. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security will not consider applying for or receiving Medicaid or CHIP when making a “public charge” determination (with one exception for individuals who are institutionalized for long-term care (such as nursing facility residents or residents of mental health institutions) and are receiving Medicaid coverage for their institutional services). This means that having Medicaid or CHIP will not affect someone’s chances of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen. Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP is open all year, and, once your child is enrolled, health coverage must be renewed annually.
You can apply online, over the phone, by mail or in-person with your state’s Medicaid or CHIP agency or visit the “Find Coverage for Your Family” section on InsureKidsNow.gov. For more information, call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
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