What benefits should parents expect for children?
Private health insurance plans now offer many of the same services as Medicaid and CHIP in some states. Twenty-six preventive services are now free to families with private insurance, eliminating copays, deductibles, or co-insurance. This includes immunization for Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus and HPV; obesity screening and counseling; blood pressure, autism and depression screenings and iron supplements for children ages 6 to 12 months at risk for anemia, among other measures. First Focus tweeted that covering preventive care helps "keep kids healthy and [manage] problems before they get out of hand." Children under 19 with disabilities or pre-existing conditions, like asthma, diabetes and cancer, cannot be denied coverage or dropped from a plan.
Health reform also includes Essential Health Benefits, 10 categories of services that insurance companies must cover to be certified and offered in marketplaces. They include pediatric dental and vision care, emergency services, maternity and newborn care, and mental health and substance use disorder services. Health insurance companies are not required to cover vision and dental for adults over 19, though, so parents should be attentive to this when assessing plans. Zuckerman wrote that dental coverage boosts checkup and restorative care, as well as better health and well-being. Children's Partnership wrote, "Access to dental care prevents missed school days for kids."
This year, as in every year, women will make important decisions for themselves and their families about health care. They can apply for coverage through the Marketplace: Online at Health care.gov; Over the phone by calling the 24/7 customer service center (1-800-318-2596, TTY 1-855-889-4325); Working with a trained person in their local community (Find Local Help); or by submitting a paper application my mail.
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