Family Health Insurance and Your Special Need Child

If you have a special needs child, take close stock of your family health insurance coverage. Caring for a child with a chronic illness, disability or other health need can be financially overwhelming. If you already have family health insurance, most of your child’s health care needs may be taken care of. If your child isn’t enrolled in your coverage, be sure to enroll the child. If you don’t have good coverage, you may want to check out the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.

Children and States and Family Health Insurance

Some six million children are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance in the United States, but they aren’t enrolled, according to a study by the Federal Interagency Task Force on Children’s Health Insurance Outreach. SCHIP programs are available to many families with low to moderate income, for a modest fee. All SCHIP programs are state-operated under federal guidelines. Each state has a SCHIP program. But they can be hard to find because different states may have different names for their program, as well as varying eligibility and coverage rules.

California calls its SCHIP program Healthy Families, while Florida’s is called Florida Kid Care, for example. You can find the program in your state online at

Buying Private Family Health Insurance Coverage

It’s possible to buy private insurance for your special needs child, but it could be hard to find and expensive. It also could exclude your child’s special need. Your state may offer a high-risk insurance pool. These vary from state to state, but all resemble private insurance. However, the premiums can be double the price of the open market. Also, there could be a strict guideline for eligibility and a waiting period. People aren’t eligible for these high-risk pools unless they haven’t been able to get insurance anywhere else.