About 95,000 North Carolina children on the government health insurance program could lose coverage this spring if the U.S. Congress doesn’t reinstate funding for the popular program, The News & Observer reports. This raises a valid question: What can parents do now?
Known as CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program is a comprehensive health care program that covers medical, vision, and dental for around 235,000 kids in North Carolina. The program is available for families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
The News & Observer spoke to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to determine what parents of children under CHIP need to do at this time.
“With the uncertainty over CHIP, some pediatricians say it’s not too early to make appointments now for checkups, vaccinations, vision tests and dental exams while the health care program is still paid for,” The News & Observer shared.
Two experts interviewed by the News & Observer stressed scheduling appointments for needed vaccinations:
“Q: What kinds of medical services should I be thinking about now?
A: David Tayloe Jr. of Goldsboro Pediatrics suggests annual physical checkups and vaccinations. Tayloe, whose practice sees more than 20,000 children eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, says vaccinations for older children can easily cost more than $100 per shot. The vaccinations typically given to children between the age of 11 and 16 are for meningitis, whooping cough/tetanus/diphtheria, and the human papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer. Tom Vitaglione, a senior fellow with N.C. Child, an advocacy group, recommends vision tests, eyeglasses, dental checkups, dental cleanings, fillings and dental cleanings in addition to vaccines.
Q: Why hasn’t my doctor contacted me? Why are public health officials not getting the word out about this?
A: They are waiting to see if Congress restores funding this month. Officials do not want to cause unnecessary alarm by panicking families over a situation that could be fixed in several weeks. If Congress fails to act this month, state health officials will have sufficient funding to run the children’s health insurance program until spring, which is enough time to start notifying the public."
Read more at The News & Observer.