Health Care Programs for Kids in Low-Income Families

Children's Special Health Care Services, Healthy Kids and MIChild are the options for families in need who are looking for something beyond private health care insurance

hildren have special health care needs. They meet on a regular basis with their health care provider (often a pediatrician) to make sure they're developing on track and to receive preventative treatment, like vaccines. In fact, during the first year of life, babies usually have around six regular doctor's visits. Yes – just regular visits! That's not including cases of sniffles. Don't worry; those regular office visits ease up as your child gets older.

These regular appointments for your children with their health care provider are called "well-child" visits. Private health insurance policies generally cover the costs of these visits without a copay (copayment) or deductible from you. In other words, parents pay no out-of-pocket costs for this preventative care when their children are covered under the parent's private health insurance plan.

Beyond private health care insurance, there are other options available to families in need. If your family is struggling to pay for your children's health care costs, these programs can help make insurance more affordable.

CSHCS

ADVERTISEMENT

What it's called: Children's Special Health Care Services

What it is: The Michigan Department of Community Health offers coverage for certain medical services to children with special needs who qualify for the program and who are under the age of 21. Individuals may also be in other programs, such as Medicaid.

Where to learn more: Go to Michigan.gov/MDCH for the State of Michigan's Department of Community Health, and then click on "Health Care Coverage" (on the left-hand side) and select Medicaid (right-hand column). Click "Health Care Programs Eligibility" from the left column; then scroll down to "Children's Special Health Care Services." There are also other programs available to children with special needs listed here, too.]

What it costs families: Depends on the need

Healthy Kids (Medicaid)

What it's called: Michigan's Medicaid program is known as Healthy Kids

What it is: This federally and state-funded program offers health care coverage for children and parents, pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors who have low incomes. Medicaid is run through the state.

Where to learn more: Go to Michigan.gov/MDCH for the State of Michigan's Department of Community Health and then click on "Health Care Coverage" (on the left-hand side) and select Medicaid.

What it costs families: No monthly premiums

MIChild (Children's Health Insurance Program, aka CHIP)

What it's called: Michigan's CHIP program is known as MIChild

What it is: Funded through the state and federal government, this program offers health care coverage for children under the age of 19 whose families make too much to be enrolled in Medicaid but still don't make enough to afford health care.

Where to learn more: Go to Michigan.gov/MDCH for the State of Michigan's Department of Community Health and then click on "Health Care Coverage" (on the left-hand side) and select "Children & Teens." Click on MIChild where prompted.

What it costs families: $10 a month

AARP, American Public Health Association, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Consumer Reports, FAIR Health, Inc., HealthCare.gov, Internal Revenue Service, Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid.gov, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Every effort was made to provide clear, accurate information about health care reform. We verified any information we had with first-tier sources – those who are involved in this change and its effect on our health care system. We also relied on well-respected national nonprofits, some who've done a masterful job of providing clear information to consumers. Our primary source of information was the Affordable Care Act's official website, HealthCare.gov. If you need additional information about how health care reform affects you, that would be your best place to start.

COMMENTS