Health Insurance is a Family Matter (Insuring health)

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Try one of these 11 genius things to lower your hospital bill costs! Expensive medications for treatment of certain cancers, diabetes, liver disease, and a host of other maladies can cost patients tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars if the insurer does not cover the drugs. Another sneaky stalling tactic? Up to 80 percent of all medical bills contain errors, according to a recent study done by Medical Billing Advocates of America.

There are two main types to look for: Medical bill coding mistakes are when the healthcare provider puts in the wrong code, causing the insurer not to pay the claim, or the insurer reacts incorrectly to a correct code. The only way to make sure yours are correct? Go through every bill no throwing out envelopes unopened! Call immediately when you spot a mistake.

It sets the prices for the items and services provided by the hospital, is often wildly inflated from item to item, and varies by hospital. First, the cost is probably wildly inflated. Second, you need to know what the insurer is going to pay first before you do anything. Not sure if your bill is correct or not? They often catch their own mistakes.

Should one choose individual or family floater health insurance plan?

Look for one that charges only a small up front fee and no more than 25 percent of anything they are able to save you. Patients often think that medical fees are set, but just like any other business, costs for goods and services can vary widely. Healthcare pricing, as a rule, is arbitrary. Eligibility generally is considerably more restrictive for parents than for children. A key reason that Medicaid income limits for parents often are extremely low is that many states set their Medicaid income limits for parents at the same level as their income limits for cash welfare assistance.

Those limits usually are far below the poverty line. States are allowed to set Medicaid eligibility limits for parents at higher levels than that and many do so, but many other states do not. The advent of SCHIP, as well as the changes that a number of states made over the past decade to simplify the procedures for enrolling children in Medicaid, led to increased insurance coverage among children. As Figure 1 illustrates, Census data show that the number of uninsured low-income children has fallen markedly since But parents have not fared as well.


The number of uninsured low-income parents increased over the first half of this decade, from 6. While the gains in SCHIP and Medicaid coverage for children were sufficient to offset the losses of employer-sponsored coverage for children, this was not the case for parents. More than a third 36 percent of low-income parents i.

In contrast, 19 percent of low-income children were uninsured. About two-thirds of the low-income parents who were uninsured 62 percent were mothers. More than four of every five low-income uninsured parents 81 percent are members of working families.


Uninsured low-income working parents are especially likely to be employed by small businesses. Almost half of low-income parents who work for firms with fewer than 25 employees are uninsured. In , we issued a study examining whether there is a connection between Medicaid coverage for parents and coverage for children. Not surprisingly, these family-based expansions also increased Medicaid participation among low-income parents.

Parents sometimes do not enroll their children in Medicaid or SCHIP because they do not know about the programs, do not realize their children are eligible, or encounter enrollment barriers such as excessive documentation requirements or complicated applications forms or procedures.

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Even if they gain coverage for their children, the children may subsequently lose it because of complicated requirements for periodically renewing their coverage. Covering both parents and children as opposed to children only generally makes it simpler and provides more incentive for families to obtain and keep coverage, because a single visit to the eligibility office or submission of a single form may lead to coverage for all members of the family.

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Since we conducted this study in , a number of other researchers have analyzed more recent data sources and used other research methodologies. Their findings are consistent with those of our study. The recent research buttresses the conclusion that covering parents stimulates enrollment by eligible children.

Wolfe reasoned that being assured that parents would continue to have health insurance coverage when they earned more than the welfare income limits gave women incentives to work longer hours or to take jobs that paid more without worrying they would lose their health insurance. In particular, the health of parents can play an important role in the well-being of their children. For example, one study found that the children of parents who suffer from depression have a higher rate of mental health problems themselves and require greater amounts of mental health care and general health care.

A number of studies demonstrate that, as one would expect, expanding eligibility for parents increases their insurance coverage and improves their access to health services. Similarly, research has shown that expanded eligibility for parents improves their access to care and increases their use of preventive and primary health services:. The nation has made significant progress in lowering the number of low-income children who lack health insurance coverage.

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Even so, almost 9 million children remain uninsured, and two-thirds of them are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP coverage but are not enrolled. A key component of efforts to reduce the number of uninsured children consequently must be to increase participation among low-income children who already are eligible. A large body of research shows that addressing this issue is tied to coverage for low-income parents. The research is clear that covering more low-income parents will result in significant gains in enrolling eligible children.

The CPS data, reflected in Figure 1, show that the percentage of low-income children who are uninsured rose slightly in , while the NHIS data indicate that the percentage of low-income children who are uninsured continued to decline in The risk that a low-income parent is uninsured is similar whether a family resides in a central city, a suburb or a rural area. Accepted April Accepted Dec Coverage of Parents Helps Children, Too.