From the flu to broken bones, illnesses and medical emergencies seem to be inevitable parts of raising kids. It can be stressful any time your child needs medical attention, but even more so when you're worried about where to get that care and how much it will cost.
We have more options for getting health care and paying for it than ever before. There is a movement toward consumer-directed health care, which is health insurance that's designed to get those who use health care — like parents — to play a bigger part in keeping costs in check.
Many different types of consumer-directed health care plans are available, each with its own benefits and limitations. Many of these plans feature high deductibles (the amount of money parents must spend before health care is covered by insurance) as well as health care savings accounts, which make it easier for parents to save money to pay for the services that insurance doesn't cover.
Some plans cover preventive care, routine checkups, vaccines, tests, and regular disease screenings, but others don't. So when you're choosing health insurance, it's important to look for a plan that meets your family's needs.
Rising costs and increased variety among health care plans can make it challenging to find your way in the health care system. The good news is that making decisions while everyone is healthy can help reduce the stress and financial strain when someone in your family does need medical care.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013
|American Medical Association (AMA) The AMA has made a commitment to medicine by making doctors more accessible to their patients. Contact the AMA at: American Medical Association|
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|Consolidated Credit Counseling Services This group's mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and to solve money-management problems through education and professional counseling.|
|United States Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) The OCA seeks to promote a better understanding between businesses and consumers, to help businesses improve their services, to educate consumers, and to provide the consumer viewpoint in the development of policy.|
|Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services This website contains all the information you need to understand your health care.|
|AAP Pediatric Referral Department Use this website to find a pediatrician in your area or to find general health information for parents from birth through age 21.|
|InsureKidsNow.gov InsureKidsNow.gov provides information about Medicaid and CHIP services for families who need health insurance coverage.|
|The Health Insurance Marketplace Consumers can learn about, compare, buy, and enroll in health insurance at HealthCare.gov, the official site for the Health Insurance Marketplace.|
|Electronic Health Records Because EHRs improve how well your doctors talk to each other and coordinate your treatment, they can enhance your overall care. This article gives the facts on electronic health records.|
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|Health Care: What Do You Know? How much do you know about taking charge of your health care? Take our quiz and find out!|
|Your Child's Checkups These age-specific guides can help you be prepared for and keep track of your well-child visits.|
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|Finding a Doctor for Your New Baby Along with considering baby names and buying a crib, choosing the right health care provider should be on your to-do list when you're expecting.|
|Talking to Your Child's Doctor Building a relationship with your child's doctor requires communication and reasonable expectations.|
|Helping Teens Take Charge of Their Health Care It's important for parents to guide teens toward managing their own health care. Here are some ways to get started.|
|Electronic Health Records Many health institutions digitally store their patients' health information. Learn about electronic health records (EHRs) and how they can improve health care.|
|Taking Charge of Your Medical Care Like learning to drive, figuring out health care is part of becoming an independent adult. Here are tips for teens on what that involves, and how to choose your own doctor.|
|Preparing Your Child for Visits to the Doctor When kids know they're "going to the doctor," many become worried about the visit. Here's how to help them.|
|Caring for a Seriously Ill Child Taking care of a chronically ill child is one of the most draining and difficult tasks a parent can face. But support groups, social workers, and family friends often can help.|
|How to Find Affordable Health Care Finding coverage for your kids may be difficult, but it's not impossible. Many kids are eligible for government or community programs, even if their parents work. Learn what resources are available to your family.|
|Financial Management During Crisis Although the emotional price of raising a seriously ill child can be devastating, it's only part of the picture. Even during this difficult time, you have to consider the financial implications.|
|Giving Teens a Voice in Health Care Decisions Involving teens in their health care can help prepare them for managing it on their own as adults.|
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