A BabyCenter mom recently found herself in a scary situation – after her husband’s employer cancelled its health insurance benefits, she learned she was pregnant. “We can’t afford insurance out of pocket,” she says. “I don’t know what to do.”
She’s not alone. According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately thirteen percent of women who become pregnant every year are uninsured .
The problem doesn’t stop there; according to the Children’s Defense Fund, over 8 million children in the United States have no health insurance .
For many of these families, the issue – to put it a bit strangely – is that they aren’t quite poor enough. In other words, they don’t qualify for Medicaid – and yet, they can’t afford private insurance. As one BabyCenter mom explains, “My husband’s new job will pay for 75% of his insurance, but ONLY his. If he puts me and the kids on it, it will be over $1300 a month out of pocket. I know they aren’t going to pay him enough to cover all
Fortunately, there is help. First, the rules for Medicaid are less stringent for pregnant women, so many expecting moms may be surprised to learn that they qualify after all.
And secondly, all states offer a program called CHIP, which provides health coverage and information for qualifying children and new moms.
CHIP is the direct result of The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law three years ago. And here’s a cool development – to celebrate the third anniversary of the program, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services (CMS) is partnering with Text4Baby. which provides free texts about Medicaid, CHIP, and health issues for pregnant women and new moms. This is important, because many qualifying families don’t even know about CHIP. As the West Virginia CHIP outreach coordinator Fred Cooper tells the Register-Herald. “It’s not going to be a success unless people take advantage of it.”
Did / do you struggle with getting health insurance for yourself or your children? Have you ever heard of CHIP?
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