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About 5 years ago I had a job as a real estate agent.  Like most real estate agents, I worked as a private contractor and health insurance was not available through my company.  I went to a private insurance agency and since I had a pre-existing condition, the insurance plans that were available to my family were over $500 per month.  This was unaffordable.  Even though I was concerned about my own healthcare, I was more concerned about my daughter.  I wanted to be sure that my daughter received the services she needed like annual check-ups, dental cleanings, vision checks, vaccinations, and the ability to see a doctor if she got sick.  I didn’t have the money to pay for an expensive insurance plan, but I also didn’t have the money to pay for an emergency room bill if things got really bad.  I didn’t know what to do and I was worried.

Luckily a friend told me about Hoosier Healthwise.  I had no clue what Hoosier Healthwise was or how CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Plans) worked.  At first I didn’t see any point in applying because I didn’t think our family would qualify.  I didn’t make a ton of money, but I made enough to pay my bills.  I thought Medicaid was only for people who weren’t able to work.  I did a little research and my friend told me to go ahead and apply.  What did I have to lose? 
 
After I submitted my application online, I received a letter asking for a bunch of other stuff:  verification of income at my job, verification of my rent, etc.  I faxed the information and in a few weeks, I got an insurance card for my daughter.  I was so excited!  I could finally take her to get her teeth cleaned, update her vaccinations, get her annual check-up, and not be worried about what I would do if she fell and broke her arm.  Having health insurance for my daughter gave me a wonderful “peace of mind” and was one less thing I had to worry about. 
 
Later, I got a different job that offered employer sponsored health insurance, but even if that wouldn’t have happened the Affordable Care Act makes sure that people are no longer charged more for health insurance due to pre-existing conditions.  It’s good to know that this new rule will help many who could never afford health insurance in the past. 
 
I hope that you will not hesitate to enroll your children in a health insurance plan.  If you do not live in Indiana and are therefore not offered our Hoosier Healthwise program, please check with your local social services office or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW to learn about Medicaid and  CHIP programs in your state.  Having health insurance is important for all families—for you and your kids.  Children and teens up to age 19 may be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, but if you are enrolling you children, please make sure you talk to a Navigator about enrolling yourself as well.  When families are enrolled in health insurance it makes them more financially secure, more productive at work, and allows them receive preventative care to help avoid emergencies.
 
For more information about enrollment, please see a Navigator in your area.  If you are in Jay or Randolph Counties in Indiana, you can email me directly atsara.hall@meridianhs.org.  You can search for local Navigators at www.healthcare.govor you can check your state Department of Insurance (here is Indiana’s: www.in.gov/idoi).  You can also find out more information about Medicaid and CHIP atwww.insurekidsnow.gov.   Medicaid and CHIP enrollment are available year round.  If you are eligible for health insurance, you have not missed out.  Don’t wait—do it today!
 

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This post was first published on The Hoosier Navigator blog

 


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