Back to school season is here, so kids are returning to the classroom and hitting the fields for school and community sports. Approximately 5 million kids in the United States may not get the chance to join their friends on the soccer field, basketball court, or in the pool because they can't afford the necessary physical or treatment if they get hurt. Families with uncovered children should know that help is available.
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid programs in each state offer free or low-cost health coverage for kids. Generally, a family of four with an income up to $45,000 a year can get their kids covered. Once enrolled, kids can get doctor and dentist visits, vision and hearing care, hospital care, mental health services, regular check-ups and shots, and needed treatment, including prescription drugs. That means kids don't have to miss out and sit in the bleachers this season – they can get covered and get in the game.
Sports do more than teach kids teamwork and discipline. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are part of sports teams have more energy, perform better in school, and are successful long after they leave the field. Kids with access to health care generally have better health throughout their childhood and into their teens. They are sick less often, get the treatment they need when they are not feeling well and are less likely to miss school – or a big game – due to illness.
Families with uncovered children can get connected to the CHIP or Medicaid programs in their states by visiting InsureKidsNow.gov or calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW. They can also find out more about CHIP and Medicaid by visiting the U.S. Youth Soccer Mobile Marketing Tour this September. U.S. Youth Soccer will be distributing materials at stops along the tour to families about the availability of free or low-cost health coverage for kids and explaining how families can get their questions answered and sign up.
Don't let kids get sidelined this season. Families can stop by an event in their area or contact their local CHIP or Medicaid programs to find out more.
-- Content provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services