The famous “SCHIP” (aka the State Children’s Health Insurance Program) law was enacted to provide health insurance to children in low-wage, working families who would otherwise be uninsured. If you do not meet California’s definition of “low income,” you will need to find child health insurance in California. We can help.
Selecting a Plan for Your Child
Perhaps the most cost-effective way to get child health insurance in California is to cover your child as a dependent under your own insurance plan—this is especially true if your plan is paid in part of in full by your employer. Ages vary by state, but in general your child can remain covered under your plan up to a certain age—often 19—after which point they must enroll in their own plan. This age is higher if your child is a full time student and/or if you can claim them as a dependent on your tax return. Again, this varies by state so you should research this separately, and then verify your child’s dependent status with a licensed tax professional.
If covering your child as a dependent under your plan is not an option, you will need to find them an individual health insurance plan. This can be done in 3 simple steps.
- Research Online. Go to our online health quote tool here and type in your child’s zip code at the top of the page. You’ll get a list of plans for child health insurance in California. From there you can quickly and easily look at what each plan offers versus the price they charge to see which plan suits your child’s needs best.
- Refine. Now look specifically at those things that will both save you money and get your child the best care. For instance, make sure the plan you choose covers immunizations if your child hasn’t had them all yet (they can be expensive and add up!); or if your child is on medication, make sure the plan covers prescription drugs. Also make sure you’re not paying for things you don’t need: your 7-year-old son can do without that expensive maternity coverage and tobacco cessation program.
- Use wisely. Once you enroll in a plan for your child, use it wisely. For example, can you solve your child’s immediate health concern with a free after-hours phone call to the on-call pediatrician instead of an expensive trip to the emergency room? Or did you know that you can shop around for medical procedures and that prices can vary quite a bit for the exact same treatment? Be a savvy consumer and you can save money and still receive good care.
Paying for your Child’s Health Insurance
Many parents do not know that they can continue to help pay for their child’s health insurance, in part or in full, indefinitely. Simply set up your credit card, bank account or billing address, instead of theirs, for payment.
If you’re a researcher, visit our Individual and Family Health Insurance page to get your info fix on child health insurance in California.