How to manage your child’s health insurance

  • DO NOT let your child’s health insurance expire.
  • Pay premiums in full and on time. New insurance can be hard to get and can cost a lot.
  • If you are changing insurance plans, don’t let one policy lapse until the new one goes into effect.
  • Know the details of your child’s health insurance plan and its coverage. Ask for a Summary of Plan Benefits (SPB), an easy-to-understand description of what the plan covers and the costs you will have to pay. If you think your child might need more coverage than a plan offers, ask your insurance carrier if better coverage is available.
  • When possible, call the insurer to make sure that any planned medical service (such as surgery, procedures, or treatments) does not require prior authorization.
  • If a bill looks odd or wrong, make sure to call or email your insurer to avoid being mistakenly charged more than you should.
  • Submit claims for all medical expenses – even when you aren’t sure they’re covered.
  • Keep accurate and complete records of claims submitted, pending (those you’re waiting on), and paid.
  • Keep copies of all paperwork related to your claims, such as letters of medical necessity, explanations of benefits (EOBs), bills, receipts, requests for sick leave or family medical (FMLA) leave, and any communication with insurance companies.
  • Get a caseworker, a hospital financial counselor, or a social worker to help you if your finances are limited. Often, companies or hospitals will work with you to make special payment arrangements if you let them know about your situation.
  • Send in your child’s bills for reimbursement as you get them. If you become overwhelmed with bills or tracking your medical expenses, get help from trusted family or friends. Contact local support organizations, such as your American Cancer Society (ACS) or your state’s government agencies, for extra help in finding resources.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: November 13, 2014 Last Revised: January 8, 2015

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