As mentioned in my Brave Skills post last week, we are canceling our health insurance policy, the thought of which scares the heck out of me! I’ve been with the same provider since I was a child; my mom is an employee, and I went from her coverage to a plan with my previous employer to a small business plan with Mr. Penny’s company. I’ve seen the same doctor since I got pregnant with Peanut about 5 years ago now. I love my kids’ pediatrician. Though it pains me, leaving is no longer optional; our plan increased its premiums by 20% and deductible from $4,500 in 2009 – already a stretch on our income – to $11,000 in 2010 – utterly absurd.
I’ve been shopping around for health insurance for the first time ever, and it is not an easy process! I started out looking at other private insurance providers, but quickly determined that they are as unaffordable as our previous plan, so I searched for low-income health insurance in our county and found quite a few resources. If you’re in San Mateo County with a low income, these resources are worth checking out. If you need coverage somewhere else, your county’s Health and Human Services website is a good place to start.
The first thing I stumbled upon was this list of low-cost or free health resources in San Mateo County.
Healthy Families is a state-wide program which offers low cost insurance with health, dental and vision coverage to children who do not have insurance.
San Mateo County Children’s Health Initiative offers health coverage for children ineligible for Medi-Cal or the Healthy Families program.
AIM is another state-wide program, this one available for pregnant moms who are without insurance but make too much for Medi-Cal.
For the whole family, San Mateo ACE Program is a coverage program provided by the County of San Mateo for residents who are not eligible for coverage through Medicare, Medi-Cal, private insurance, or other third-party payers. It costs $240 a year and co-pays are $10 per visit, $7 per generic prescriptions. Very affordable, no?
Health Plan of San Mateo is a managed care program that provides health care to residents who receive benefits through Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid system), CareAdvantage (for seniors), Healthy Families, Healthy Kids, HealthWorx (for some county employees), and San Mateo ACE.
San Mateo ACE looked perfect for us, but our income is too LOW for this program; I discovered while trying to apply that we qualify for Medi-Cal. So after all the research, we’re going on Medi-Cal as a temporary measure until our income increases, hopefully within the next year. We’ll be using the Health Plan of San Mateo, with Medi-Cal for now but possibly San Mateo ACE or another program as our income increases. I’m also thrilled to discover that our old provider offers pediatric services through HPSM so we may be able to keep our beloved pediatrician!
I was really pleased to find that so many resources are available in our county for people whose income is not high enough to pay for private health insurance. I wish I’d done this research a few years ago, when we decided that I would stay home full time, as we’ve been on a limited income all this time and would have qualified for much more affordable insurance for the past four years!