We all want our children to have every opportunity for a happy, healthy, and successful life. There is no question that the early childhood years are critical in their development. Vision issues can often be an unnecessary hurdle, but poor vision does not have to be a barrier to a child's well-being.
Early attention to vision and eye health can help keep your child on a positive path for the future. But sometimes, affordability of health care, including vision and eye care, can keep them from this path.
The Affordable Care Act may have a big impact on your child's vision.
All individual health insurance plans, small group insurance plans, or plans sold in the state-based health insurance marketplaces are required to include a set of essential heatlh benefits. This requirement does not apply to large group plans. Included in this list of "essential" services is coverage for children's vision care.
In most states, this means that new insurnce plans will cover one comprehensive eye exam and one pair of glasses each year.
Be sure to check your state's requirements. Visit www.healthcare.gov to find out more about the benefit in your state.
Insurance plans must also cover certain preventive services without a copay or coinsurance; this includes vision screenings for kids.
This screening would likely be offered in your pediatrician's office as part of a well-child visit.
There are many options for health insurance for your family. If you are unemployed, or if your employer does not offer health insurance, you may be eligible for subsidies to help you pay for insuranc offered through the health insurance marketplace in your state. Based on your household income, your child may be eligible for Medicaid or your state's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Some children previously covered by CHIP may now be eligible for Medicaid.
Visit www.healthcarelgov to find an insurance plan in your state that is appropriate for your family, and to check your eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP.
The Children's Vision and Eye Health report published by Prevent Blindness has more details about access to eye care for children and the Affordable Care Act.Learn More