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In order to deal with a growing problem of children living in the United States without health insurance some 10 years ago Congress passed a plan entitled Title XXI, or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP]. Under this state plan families whose income is insufficient to afford private medical health insurance and too high to apply for Medicaid can receive medical care for their children by paying a maximum of 5% of their gross annual income or, in many cases, by paying nothing at all.
Title XXI lays down minimum standards which must be met by each state, such as the provision of well-baby and well-child physical examinations, immunization programs and emergency services, but states are also given considerably freedom under Title XXI and programs vary from state to state.
It should be noted that this plan is designed to provide cover for children who do not have any form of medical insurance cover and that children who are already covered under a health insurance policy cannot also receive cover under the provisions of this plan.
Where children are not eligible for cover under this state plan and are ineligible for Medicare you will need to consider covering them under a private family plan or on their own individual plan. In this case it will normally, but not always, be cost-effective to provide cover under a family plan although, if you are looking to cover only one child, an individual plan for that child may prove the best option.
In the case of students the majority of colleges and universities operate their own health care clinics for the treatment of routine ailments such as colds, sore throats and minor sports injuries. Nevertheless, you should take out some form of medical health insurance to cover unexpected medical problems including more serious illnesses and surgery.
Wherever possible, you should look to cover children under your own individual or family plan and most plans will cover children even when they are away at school. There may however be some restrictions imposed under these circumstances and you should read through the details of your plan carefully.
Should your children need individual medical health insurance plans to cover them at college, then there are several insurance companies that cater specifically to the needs of students. This is an area which you should research carefully however to ensure your children are getting the cover they need.
Whatever else you do, you should not assume that the government will take responsibility for the care of your children at home and that colleges and universities will do the same once they become students. As parents, the responsibility for providing healthcare for your children falls squarely on your shoulders.