Having a sick child is like torture for a parent, and the stressful situation is made even worse when the child doesn’t have insurance. What can you do if your child needs insurance?

Private Insurance

If employer insurance isn’t an option, consider self-insuring your children. The insurance marketplaces analyze your family’s information to find the cheapest options.

Although it may not work for every situation, many employers offer health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts. The exact details vary from plan to plan, but these are structured savings accounts dedicated to spending on healthcare. At least for the earliest years of life, these accounts may be enough to cover your child’s medical expenses.

Medicaid and CHIP

Medicaid is a government-funded insurance program, with extremely low copays, for low-income citizens. It’s a great option for a parent who can’t afford insurance, but you must meet the low-income requirements.

If you don’t meet the Medicaid requirements (133% of the federal poverty level in most states,) you might meet the CHIP requirements (200% of the federal poverty level in most states). CHIP is another low-cost insurance option offered by the federal government for low-income families. The exact qualifications change over time and vary by state.

What else?

What if you don’t qualify for any of the above options and you can’t afford insurance? Look into local options before you need to use them. Many communities have health clinics where all services are cheaper regardless of insurance. Especially with children involved, some doctors will give a discount to customers who self-pay.

As a last resort, consider reserving a credit card exclusively for your child’s medical expenses. That way your child will never go without the necessary care.