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Free or Low-Cost Health Coverage Helps Kids Get in the Game

750 x 100 AD PLACEMENT

Each fall, school and community athletic fields are filled with four-year-olds taking their first kick at a soccer ball and high-school seniors practicing in hopes of reaching the state championship football game. At every age, children who play sports learn lessons about teamwork and the value of both winning and losing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are part of sports teams have more energy, perform better in school and are successful long after they leave the field.

Approximately 5 million uninsured kids in the U.S. may not experience the benefits of playing on a team. These kids often miss out because they can’t afford the necessary physical or treatment if they get hurt. Jackie, a 13-year-old eager to go out for her school’s track team, was one of those kids until her family learned that health coverage is available through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Across the country CHIP and Medicaid offer free or low-cost health coverage for kids. Generally, a family of four that earns up to $45,000 a year can get their kids covered. Once enrolled, kids can get doctor and dentist visits, vision and hearing care, hospital care, mental health services, regular check-ups and shots, and needed treatment, including prescription drugs.
Upon learning that Jackie did not have health insurance and that her mother had suffered a heart attack before age 50, the school nurse knew Jackie would need more than a general sports physical to be cleared to participate in track.

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