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.|
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|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
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