Skip to content

Affordable California State Child Health Insurance Plans – I Can’t Pay Much

Finding Affordable or No Cost Insurance For Your Child

Every child needs dependable health insurance. However, not all parents can afford the full cost of private medical insurance. As a result, there are a variety of programs offered by the state of California and private organizations that can provide health care to financially strapped families. Through these programs, there should be no child in California that doesn’t have health insurance.

In the sections below we will give an overview of the child health insurance programs that are available in California. Some of these plans provide complete coverage for children at no cost, and others provide just the basic services. Then we’ll outline the steps parents should take to find the best program for their children.

Medi-Cal

This is the name for California’s Medicaid program. The program is administered by California, and is financed equally by the Federal and State government. Medi-Cal provides no cost health insurance to low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities. People that qualify for Medi-Cal can receive free preventive care, treatment for injuries and illnesses, dental care, vision screening, and mental health treatment.

This program is one of the cornerstones of the Affordable Care Act, and will expand considerably to take in new people in 2014.

Healthy Families

The healthy families program provides low cost health insurance to the children of low income families. This program provides a variety of services such as medical, dental, visions, and preventive care. The program requires families to meet certain income requirements which may viewed at the following link: http://www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov/HFProgram/Income_Guidelines.aspx

The Healthy Families program is being rolled into the Medi-Cal program during 2013. The transition plan will ensure that families do not see a disruption in services, and will increase the benefits that children receive once inside of Medi-Cal. Healthy Families is still accepting applications for new children.

Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP)

This is not an insurance program. However, the program does assist low income families in obtaining preventive care and health assessments for their children. CHDP provides checkups, nutrition evaluations and guidance, immunizations, hearing, and vision screenings. This program is administered by the state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The program helps families determine their eligibility for assistance programs, and enroll in the appropriate care program, such as Healthy Families and Medi-Cal.

Children’s Health Initiative (CHI)

Children’s Health initiative is run by an independent non-profit known as The Institute For Health Policy Solutions (IHPS). CHI works with many counties to reach the low-income families with children that don’t have health insurance. CHI works with families whose income is less than 300% of the Federal Povery Level. By providing technical support and guidance, programs are created in each county to create “Healthy Kids” insurance plans in a partnership with the local communities and businesses.

CHI helps families determine which state programs they qualify for, and can assist in the enrollment process.

For information about CHI in your county, see the following map of California: http://www.ihps-ca.org/localcovsol/cov_initiatives.html

California Children’s Services (CCS)

CCS is a state program that provides health care assistance to children up to age 21 with special health problems. The program works with Medi-Cal and Healthy Families to provide case management and ensure that children receive the right care and see the right physicians for their special health needs. Examples of special health problems are cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, cerebral palsy, heart disease, cancer, and traumatic injuries.

Steps You Should Take To Find Affordable Child Health Insurance

If the mother of a baby is enrolled in Medi-Cal or the Aid for Infants and Mothers (AIM) program, then the steps below will not apply for getting baby health insurance after birth. In this situation, the baby will be transferred into Medi-Cal with the mother, or into Healthy Families or Medi-Cal if the mother is in the AIM program. For all other situations, use the steps outlined below.

  1. The first step is to look at the coverage map for the Children’s Health Initiative above. If CHI has an active program in your area, then this program can act as your partner in helping you get into the correct health program.
  2. If CHI is not active in your county, then contact the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program. This office can help you through the process of finding the correct program and assist you in filling out the necessary forms, or they will put you in contact with a local office for assistance.
  3. If neither of the steps above works, then you should contact your local Medi-Cal office. Medi-Cal will be your lowest cost solution, so start with this program
  4. If you do not qualify for Medi-Cal, then contact the Healthy Families program.

No child in California should be left without health insurance. By providing the proper care and nurturing, we ensure a better future for our state. The programs we have outlined above can provide families with financial difficulties, the health care their children need. The first move is to follow the outlined path, taking one step at a time, and enrolling your child or children.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Health Spending Account

Nowadays, a lot of people are more concerned about their health than anything else. They are more careful in choosing the foods they eat because of the fact that most diseases nowadays involve in the lifestyle of man. Well, some people are also practicing a work-home routine to avoid any accidents that might happen to them when they are outside of their house. But sometimes, some unexpected things really do happen and having a health spending account is the best option that you could get.

Sure you can get a traditional health insurance plan where you pay each month and your employer may even cover some or all of this type of plan. With these traditional health insurance plans there are certain requirements and restrictions. For example, there are certain requirements that you need to follow for you to become eligible. A qualified applicant must be 65 years old and below and have a high-deductible health insurance plan. The plan should only be your insurance coverage as well, if you are covered by any other health insurance plans, then you do not pass their requirements. That includes health insurance plans for vision, dental and long term care. These plans typically only cover 80% of traditional health expenses, such as medical and dental visits. You are responsible for paying out of pocket for the rest. Non traditional health expenses such as massage therapy, Chiropractic care, dental surgery, private health clinics, etc are not even covered.

As an employee, the advantages of having a HSA are that you have full control to the money that you will be spending. A certain amount of money is set aside by your employer in your HSA to be used as you deem fit to cover a large variety of routine health care expenses for you, your spouse, or your dependents. From the employer perspective this is a valued and economical way to provide tax free health benefits to employees, and all the money invested by the employer is 100% tax deductible (including any fees). With this result, still a lot of people prefer to have HSA because everyone has different health needs and no one should be able to dictate that only traditional types of health treatments are right? Owning or managing a business sometimes means you need to travel to other provinces in Canada, or to other countries to do business. An HAS gives you the flexibility to travel and still obtain coverage for the type of health treatments that are most relevant for you. As long as the health practitioner is licensed in the location you happen to be in, you can rest assured things will be covered. An HAS is an ideal small business health plan. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own, as long as you are a Canadian incorporated business, Although an HSA is good at covering a large variety of routine health care costs, it is not provide an insurance component to cover accidents or medical emergencies, although you can purchase a fixed term travel insurance plan and run this through your HSA. If you require true accidental or emergency coverage then there are plenty of options out there to investigate, including a stripped down traditional health insurance plan, or visiting one of many financial institutions who provide this type of emergency coverage.

Wastewater Regulations – From Disease to Toxins to Nutrients to Endocrine Disrupters

Regulation of sanitary waste began with a focus on disease-causing pathogens (germs). When medical science was able to demonstrate the connection between disease and contaminated drinking water, regulatory activity focused on protecting drinking water from germs. Thousand of people died from cholera between 1830 and 1880 before the link to contaminated drinking water was discovered. Even so, the cholera epidemic of 1939 in Lexington, Kentucky, killed 1500 people in 10 days. To this day there are still occasional outbreaks of hepatitis, e-coli and dysentery from contaminated water around the country.

During the 1800’s the United States changed from a population that drew its water directly out of lakes, rivers, springs and wells to an urban populations with water piped in from water treatment plants. This made protection of water sources and regulation of water treatment even more important: if the central plant delivered bad water an entire city could get sick or die. Health departments at state, county and municipal level created ever more detailed regulations to protect the public from bad drinking water. Both water treatment and wastewater discharge became more regulated.

During the mid 1900’s a second focus emerged: toxins in the water supply. The most visible of these were acid rain and mercury, but many more toxic chemicals and trace metals were found in our lakes, rivers, streams and underground water supplies. Extensive efforts were made to determine the water quality in each and every supply source. Research was also done to determine how toxic various of these pollutants could be, what levels were dangerous and what harm they could cause humans.

Next came the realization that nutrients are contaminating the water supply. The problem about nutrients in water is that they promote growth of living organisms which in turn trigger an ecological chain of events that ruins the water and can create toxic condition in rivers, wells, aquifers and lakes.

Fertilizers are a large source of these nutrients but not the only source. There are also nutrients from pig and poultry farms getting into the water supply. This, for example, is blamed for much of the pollution in the Cheasapeake Bay. Further, nutrients are found in all human sanitary waste. Our bodies in the process of digestion create and eliminate nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium as byproducts.

Almost half of all the homes in our nation are on septic systems. Septic systems do not typically eliminate nitrogen, phosphate or potassium. It was always assumed that a septic system properly installed in ground that percolates would put these nutrients into the ground far enough above the groundwater for them to become part of the soil without getting into the groundwater. Now that assumption is being questioned.

Nutrients introduce into the discussion a whole new dimension, very different from the concerns about disease and toxins. Germs can be killed and also die quickly in the ground. Metal contaminants can be filetered out and chemical discharges can be banned. But nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are not living organisms to be killed and they cannot easily be filtered. What to do about nutrients is a serious issue for both the septic industry and the wastewater treatment plants.

Enter now a fourth focus: endocrine damaging chemicals or ED’s as described in the June 4, 2007 issue of Newsweek. We can expect a great deal more information about how the accumulation of trace amounts of chemicals from shampoos, cosmetics, shaving lotions, skin creams, dishwashing liquids, pesticides, flame retardants, plastics, medicines and other home-use products in the water supply combine to cause genetic damage.

It has been a long and sorrowful journey away from the good old days of plentiful safe water and no worries about what happened with our human waste. We will always have plentiful water and we will find ways to make it safe again. But it won’t be cheap.

The Effect of Synthetic Chemicals on the Endocrine System

The endocrine system is a collective of glands and the associated hormones they excrete. Hormones regulate several functions within the body including sexual development, development of the foetus in the womb and reproductive function.

The endocrine system also supports energy production and the control of metabolism in the body. The endocrine system supports the development of the brain and nervous system. The endocrine system supports mood and tissue function. The Hormone system begins working from the time of conception and continues working through to our passing.

How do chemicals effect and manipulate the Endocrine System?

There is potential for Hormone altering chemicals to affect the growing foetus even when the mother is exposed to very low level of chemicals during pregnancy. During a foetus’ development, hormones regulate how cells divide and function. Hormones work to distinguish and form the organs and physical system of the body.

The chemicals that can cause damage to the growing foetus are called teratogens or teratogenic compounds. The growing foetus is most susceptible between days 15 and 60 from conception. During this time period the physiological systems and organs are laid out.

There is still potential for damage before and after this “organogenesis” period.

Some of the chemicals that can cause Endocrine disruption

DDT
Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) has been used as a pesticide in America since the1930’s. Half a century ago, biologists started studying the effects of DDT on laboratory animals, it was found that DDT interfered with reproductive development. Research has also discovered that DDT can inhibit the complete development of female reproductive organs. This can adversely affect reproduction abilities.

Polychlorinated biphenyls
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) can be found in industrial products and lubricants. It is manufactured by heating benzene and chloride. Health effects have been seen in individuals working at the manufacturing plants.

Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A is found in many plastic products. A recent report has expressed concerns regarding exposure of foetuses, infants, and young children.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
Typically used as a fire retardant. It can be found in building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane and fabric.

Phthalates
Phthalates are found in some cosmetics and air fresheners as well as children’s soft toys. Phthalates are to cause potential health concern as they are known to disrupt the endocrine system of mammals.

There is some evidence to suggest there has been a rise of birth defects to the male reproductive system.

Alkylphenols
Alkylphenols are used as a precursor for the manufacture of detergents, in lubricants and fuels. Alkylphenols can be found in Rubber products, glues and coatings.

Disease caused as a result of Chemical exposure through the Endocrine system
Breast cancer, prostate cancer and testicular cancer are believed to be closely associated with contact with various Endocrine disruptors. The effects Endocrine disruptors have on the cause of Autism are also being closely studied. Disabilities caused as a result of missing or Abnormal DNA also have a connection to the amount of Endocrine Disruptors in the Environment.

Hormones and Your Health (Part 1)

People don’t give much thought to hormones once they get through puberty. That’s that age when people seem to justify everything an adolescent says or does with:

“Oh, it’s just all those hormones.”

But hormones don’t just go into hibernation for the rest of your life once you reach adulthood. You may not be able to feel the effects of a hormonal imbalance quite like you do a nail through your foot or a broken nose, but hormones are still present and active.

In fact, five organs control and excrete the level of hormones found in the body at any one time. These include: the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, kidneys, pancreas and the gonads. The pituitary gland, which is essentially the center of all things hormonal, controls all five glands by communicating when and how to act. The entire set of glands act together to make up the endocrine system.

The pituitary gland is a tiny, pea-sized organ located in the brain. It connects the mind to the body in a very literal way. When the pituitary senses a need for a hormonal excretion, it sends signals to the other part or parts of the endocrine system to get the job done.

For example, the pituitary will send signals to your thyroid gland whenever your metabolism needs to be revved up or slowed down. All thyroid glands operate a bit differently from person to person. Just like some houses have seven TVs using electricity and others only have the light that they read by.

However, when the thyroid is imbalanced even for you, two things can occur. Hyperthyroidism, a condition that throws your thyroid gland into overdrive will cause rapid weight loss, fatigue, increased appetite, trouble sleeping and brittle hair. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid seems to have gone on permanent stand-by status. Increased weight gain, sensitivity to cold and muscle aches are all signs and symptoms. Genetically overweight families can attribute their battle with the scale to the lack of hustle their thyroid gland is showing.

Stress is controlled by hormones, as well. The adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, control the cortisol output, produce estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and adrenaline. Needless to say, adrenal glands have their work cut out for them. When more or less of these hormones are produced, bad things can happen. For example, excess of cortisol can cause weight gain, facial hair (ok, if you’re a guy, not so becoming on a woman) and acne. Buffalo hump is also caused by elevated cortisol levels. In case you don’t know, Buffalo hump refers to an excess of fat gathering between the shoulders.

The kidneys produce a hormone responsible for red blood cell creation and also protect other tissue cells from effects of lack of oxygen. While the pancreas aids in the digestive process by producing insulin. It takes the glucose that enters your blood stream after you’ve had a meal and carries it through your body so it can be used as fuel. Both organs play an important role, and if either fails, consequences are serious.

Finally, a word you probably haven’t heard since you graduated grade school – the gonads. We all have them, males and females alike and they are, of course, our sex glands. In men, they produce sperm, cause facial hair and change voices from high and squeaky to low and man-like. While in women, the glands are located in the ovaries and produces the egg.