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Health plan options for uninsured kids and teens.

Keeping your kid on the path to health starts with their health coverage. In the first years of life, their brain, cardiovascular, immune and other systems are developing. In early childhood, it’s crucial to have any health issues addressed. And in the adolescent and teenage years, their bodies are changing fast. At any stage, there’s no denying the importance of health insurance for children. 

What if your child doesn’t have health insurance — or is covered by a health plan with high deductibles and limited benefits?

Good news: If you can’t afford adequate insurance or you have a plan that doesn’t cover everything, you have options. 

But first, let’s take a look at why your child needs health insurance.

Why your child needs health insurance

Planning usually helps things go smoothly. And when it comes to your child’s health, health insurance helps you do just that — plan for the future. 

Having health coverage for your child can mean:

  • Fewer missed days from school
  • Staying up to date on immunizations
  • Preventive care to keep them healthy and strong
  • Emergency care for the unexpected

Explore public programs

There are two public programs that provide coverage for kids in low- to middle-income families — and they’re available in every state:

  • Medical assistance (or Medicaid)
  • CHIP (short for the Children's Health Insurance Program)

Having health benefits gives you peace of mind, whether it’s for routine care or something unexpected. And having that peace of mind means you have more time to focus on other things, like watching your kid just be a kid.

What is medical assistance?

Medical assistance (which, at Geisinger, is offered as GHP Family to eligible Pennsylvania residents) provides health coverage for people with limited incomes, including:

  • Kids and parents
  • Women who are pregnant
  • People with disabilities
  • People 65+

Kids whose parents are not U.S. citizens or are legal immigrants may still be eligible for coverage.

GHP Family provides complete healthcare coverage. Depending on your level of eligibility for Medical Assistance, your benefits may include the following — many times at no cost to you:

  • Immunizations
  • Checkups
  • Prescription drugs
  • Eye care
  • Dental care

What is CHIP?

CHIP provides health insurance to all uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid. Coverage is available at low or no cost. No family makes too much money for CHIP coverage.

From flu shots to regular dental checkups, CHIP (which, at Geisinger, is brought to you by GHP Kids) offers the healthcare coverage your child needs so they can stay healthy. 

CHIP comprehensive healthcare benefits

CHIP provides complete healthcare coverage for your child, including:  

  • Doctors and hospitals nearby
  • Routine checkups and immunizations
  • Prescription drugs 
  • Eye exams 
  • Dental care (from in-network dental providers)
  • Emergency care
  • Up to 90 days of hospitalization per year 
  • Durable medical equipment

CHIP covers all Pennsylvania kids. Any uninsured child or teen up to age 19 who doesn’t qualify for Medical Assistance will be covered by our GHP Kids CHIP plan. Whether you’ve lost health insurance through your job or your benefits are too expensive, you can count on GHP Kids to be there for your child.

Other options

The good news? Most kids from low- or middle-income families will qualify for free or reduced-cost health coverage through Medicaid and/or CHIP. If your child isn’t eligible for either program, here are some other ways to help find care. 

  • Visit a community health center
  • Ask your pediatrician about fee-for-service care or less-expensive treatment options
  • Find a safety-net facility
  • Review your current health plan to understand as much as possible before your child gets sick or needs care

Find your support system

Trying to find affordable care for your family but don’t know where to start? Community resources can help. 

Besides healthcare, searching your zip code on Neighborly will bring up other community resources, too, like:

  • Food and housing assistance
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Utility assistance
  • Financial assistance

Next steps:

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Find community resources near you
Learn about GHP Kids
Learn about GHP Family

 
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