Did you know that the child support program serves more than 17 million children – 1 in 4 in the U.S.?
Yes the child support program is about collecting money. It helps assure that children can get what they need, like clothes and school supplies, and lifts about a million people out of poverty each year.
But child support is about so much more than just the money. Our core belief is that children deserve financial and emotional support from both of their parents. We want all parents to be successful parents. Instinctively we know that it’s much easier for parents to take care of their children’s financial and emotional health when they are looking after their own health.
That’s why various child support programs from around the country are working hard to connect all children and their parents to health care coverage – through referrals to the Marketplace and the CHIP and Medicaid programs.
Connecting Families to Coverage
Raquel B. is a supervising child support specialist in Santa Cruz, CA. She’s also a trained educator for Covered California ™– California’s state-based Marketplace. Raquel recently worked with an unemployed father who was struggling with depression and alcoholism. His unemployment benefits had run out and he was trying to make ends meet and pay his child support obligation by picking up construction work and odd jobs where he could. Raquel was pretty confident that her customer would qualify for financial help if he applied for medical insurance through the Marketplace, and referred him to a local enrollment counselor.To quote Raquel:
“He was excited to hear that there was an option that would work for him. He mentioned that this was the first time he had heard of something to help a single father like him.”
Raquel followed up a few weeks later. Her customer had successfully enrolled in Covered California™. “We are hopeful that he will now have access to the medical resources necessary to help get him back on his feet and be a better parent and provider for his children.” Raquel added that they have hosted several informational events at the courthouse where child support cases are heard. They’ve provided literature and information to parents involved with the child support program, to make sure all of their customers knew about their new health care options.
Child Support: We’re Here to Help
All state and tribal child support programs provide their services at very low or no cost to families. If you are a parent who needs help establishing legal parentage for your child, or establishing and enforcing an order for financial and medical support for your child, there’s a child support office in your area. Either parent – the custodial or noncustodial parent - can apply for services. And when you apply for child support services, talk to the child support professional about your family’s medical coverage needs. They can help you identify options and resources that may be appropriate for your family.
Enrollment Open All Year for Medicaid and CHIP
Remember: Medicaid and CHIP are open for enrollment all year. And if you have experienced a life event that brings you to the child support program – the birth of a child or the break-up of your relationship with the other parent – many of those life events trigger a Special Enrollment Period in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
You can support your children better when you support your own good health!