Parenting and Health Insurance for Your Children

Childhood sometimes seems to be an endless succession of coughs, colds, fevers, flus, etc. Itís unwise and unhealthy, not to mention potentially disastrous financially, to go without proper medical coverage for your child. Here are a few things to keep in mind as your consider your options.

Things you should know about Health Insurance:

Your health insurance may not cover all pregnancy-related expenses. If you and your spouse both work, you may be covered under two group health insurance plans. You should check both to find out what portion of the hospital and physicianís fees they will cover for the birth of your child. Also, check to see if your health plans covers routine monthly visits to the pediatrician. Knowing whatís covered will help you budget for medical expenses both for the hospital stay and the first year of the babyís life.

Choose the health coverage that fits your needs

If you have a choice of two or more different health plans, take the time to learn about the benefits of each one and weigh your options carefully. A managed care plan like a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) makes more sense for frequent trips to the doctor, since it typically covers the cost of routine check-ups. However, PPOs and HMOs generally limit your choice of providers. By contrast, an indemnity plan lets you choose your own physicians and hospital, but generally provides more limited coverage for routine check-ups.

COBRA may provide coverage in certain situations

COBRA is the federal law that entitles you and your dependents to continued coverage under your employer-sponsored group health insurance even after you leave the job or your dependents otherwise become ineligible for coverage for another reason. For example, if your child ceases to be eligible for coverage in the plan because he is over 19 years old and not a full-time student, then he is probably entitled to continued coverage under COBRA.

Bear in mind when you exercise your COBRA rights, you must pay the full monthly premium for continued coverage; it will no longer be subsidized by your employer. On the other hand, because youíre still insured under a group policy, youíll typically have broader coverage at a lower cost than you could buy as an individual. You should check with your employer for more specific information, because not all companies are required to provide COBRA benefits.

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