Getting Kids Health Insurance: What You Can Do Right Now

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Posted September 23, 2010

Making sure that our children are covered is one of the building blocks of a healthier society, and it’s something we can work on right now. Millions of kids are eligible for state health insurance programs through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)---and are not yet enrolled.

That’s why the Department of Health and Human Services announced the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge last February, with the goal of enrolling five million children in five years.

Since then, an unprecedented coalition of partners has stepped up to the challenge to enroll kids and educate families. Government and community leaders, faith organizations, and others are all coming together. Some of these partners joined us today to talk about the progress that’s been made and the challenges ahead. 

We can reach the goal of five million kids in five years.

There are two things you can do right now:

1) If you or someone you love has a child who does not have health insurance, check out the options. Every state has a children’s health insurance program, although their names may vary. They all provide the health benefits every child needs. The plans may be free or available at a very modest cost. Generally, children up to age 19 in families of four with income up to $45,000 a year can qualify. In many states the income limit is higher, so more children in working families are eligible. Even if your child has not been able to get coverage in the past, it’s worth trying again. Usually you can mail in an application and in many states you can apply on line. Visit this page for more information.

2) If you are part of an organization who you think might want to participate in the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge, make sure you visit InsureKidsNow to learn more about it and possibly sign up your organization. The more people involved, the more likely it is that we can get these kids covered.

Just today, the Urban Institute published an article in Health Affairs about the children across the country who are uninsured even though they are eligible for CHIP or Medicaid. It discusses who they are and where they live.

We have the information and the tools. Let’s go get these kids covered.