What is Child-Only Health Insurance?

Child-exclusive health insurance serves as a vital resource for covering children’s medical expenses and essential preventive care services. This specialized insurance can be acquired through multiple channels, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace found at HealthCare.gov, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or directly from reputable health insurance providers. The selection of the most appropriate child-only health insurance plan is contingent upon individual eligibility factors.

Those eligible may benefit from accessing affordable coverage by qualifying for premium tax credits designed to offset expenses associated with an ACA plan. Alternatively, individuals meeting specific criteria can explore comprehensive and cost-effective options through Medicaid or CHIP, tailoring their insurance selection to suit their unique needs and circumstances. Determining the optimal child-only health insurance plan involves assessing eligibility requirements to identify the most suitable coverage.

What is Child-Only Health Insurance

By leveraging available resources, such as premium tax credits for ACA plans, individuals can secure affordable insurance options that align with their financial capabilities. Moreover, eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP presents an opportunity to access quality healthcare coverage at a reasonable cost, ensuring that children receive the necessary medical attention and preventive services. By understanding and navigating the various avenues for child-specific health insurance, families can make informed decisions to safeguard their children’s well-being and financial security.

Child-Exclusive Health Insurance Options

There are various avenues through which you can obtain health insurance specifically tailored for children. Each type of health insurance comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Marketplace plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)


  • Comprehensive coverage includes emergency services, hospitalizations, mental health services, outpatient care, prescriptions, pregnancy and maternity care, and preventive services.
  • Availability of premium tax credits and subsidies based on household income and size to help offset coverage costs for eligible individuals.
  • Multiple plan options are available based on geographical location.
  • Inclusion of dental and vision insurance for children in ACA plans.


  • Generally higher costs compared to employer-sponsored coverage unless eligible for premium tax credits.
  • Limited ACA plan options exist in rural areas.
  • More restricted networks compared to employer-sponsored health insurance potentially require individuals to stay within the plan’s network, such as health maintenance organization (HMO) plans to be more prevalent than preferred provider organization (PPO) plans in the marketplace.



  • Low-cost or free coverage depends on household income and size.
  • Comprehensive coverage.

Coverage For Dental and Vision Care for Children under Medicaid


  • Potential challenges in finding providers who accept Medicaid compared to private health insurance.
  • Eligibility restrictions for Medicaid coverage.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)


  • Based on household income and size.
  • Comprehensive coverage similar to Medicaid plans.
  • Inclusion of vision and dental coverage for children under CHIP.


  • Limited provider networks compared to private insurance in public health plans like CHIP.
  • Eligibility criteria restrict access to CHIP plans.

Catastrophic health insurance


  • Low premiums, averaging $189 monthly for children under 15.
  • Coverage of essential health benefits akin to ACA plans.
  • Purchase options are available through the ACA marketplace.
  • There is no coinsurance, with the plan covering healthcare costs after reaching the deductible.


  • Limited to individuals fewer than 30 and those facing significant financial challenges.
  • Responsibility for all healthcare costs until reaching the plan’s deductible, set at $9,400 for individual coverage and as the out-of-pocket maximum.
  • Absence of tax credits or subsidies similar to ACA plans.

Short-Term Health Insurance


  • Affordable coverage, averaging $171 per month for individuals.
  • Bridge coverage gaps between standard health plans, especially post-job loss.
  • Typically more cost-effective than COBRA insurance.
  • Similar coinsurance levels as standard health insurance, starting after meeting the deductible.


  • Plans are not mandated to adhere to ACA regulations.
  • Limited to one-year coverage with potential extensions of up to three years in most states.
  • Restricted or banned in certain states.
  • Potential for higher deductibles compared to standard health insurance.
  • Coverage caps and limitations apply to covered services.

Private insurance plans directly from insurers


  • Potential for finding more economical individual plans exempt from ACA regulations.
  • Greater flexibility compared to employer-offered plans.


  • Ineligibility for premium tax credits and subsidies available with ACA plans.
  • Plans are not required to comply with ACA standards.
  • Likely not meeting the minimum essential coverage criteria in states mandating health insurance requirements.

Child-Only Health Insurance Pricing Insights

The average monthly cost of child-only health insurance stands at approximately $300 for a child under 15 and $354 for an 18-year-old, as per Forbes Advisor’s analysis of ACA rates. The specific pricing of health insurance is influenced by factors such as the method of coverage acquisition, plan type, coverage details, and the insurance provider. Within the ACA marketplace, insurers consider age and smoking status when determining rates.

Average Monthly Costs for Child-Only Health Insurance for Children Fewer than 15

Health Insurance Company Average Monthly Cost

  Blue Cross Blue Shield$337
  Kaiser Permanente$255
  Molina healthcare$288

Under ACA regulations, parents have the option to include children on their health plans until they reach 26 years of age. When selecting health insurance for young adults, it is advisable to compare prices annually to ensure optimal cost-effectiveness and coverage alignment with individual needs.

Average monthly costs for child-only health insurance for 18-year-olds

Health Insurance Company Average Monthly Cost

  Blue Cross Blue Shield$399
  Kaiser Permanente$293
  Molina healthcare$330

Determining the Optimal Child-Only Health Insurance Solution

Identifying the most suitable child-only health insurance option is contingent upon several factors, primarily your eligibility status:

  • If you qualify for cost-saving subsidies and premium tax credits based on your income, an ACA health insurance marketplace plan could be a viable choice.
  • Eligibility for Medicaid or a CHIP plan may present a more cost-effective option with comprehensive coverage.
  • In cases where neither of the above applies, purchasing an ACA plan through HealthCare.gov or directly from a health insurer remains a viable alternative.

First Choice: Subsidized ACA Health Plan

While ACA health insurance plans typically come at a higher cost compared to employer-sponsored options, eligibility for premium tax credits based on household income can make ACA coverage more affordable. To qualify for these tax credits in most states, your household income must fall below 400% of the federal poverty level.

Second Choice: Medicaid/CHIP

Medicaid and CHIP offer low-cost or free comprehensive coverage for eligible individuals, with costs determined by income levels. These programs provide coverage equivalent to more expensive health plans. However, challenges may arise in terms of eligibility for Medicaid and finding providers who accept Medicaid or CHIP.

Third Choice: Direct Health Plan from the Insurer

Opting to purchase health insurance directly from an insurer rather than through the ACA marketplace can provide more flexibility in plan selection. These plans may also be more cost-effective than unsubsidized ACA plans. However, it is important to note that health plans obtained directly from insurers are not bound by ACA requirements, potentially resulting in reduced coverage. Furthermore, such plans may not meet the criteria for “minimum essential coverage,” potentially leading to penalties in states mandating health insurance.

While alternative options exist, their drawbacks may outweigh the benefits. For example, catastrophic health insurance offers affordable coverage but entails substantial out-of-pocket costs until reaching the deductible, with limited eligibility. Similarly, short-term health insurance presents a budget-friendly option but comes with restricted coverage and high out-of-pocket expenses.


What type of insurance is only for kids?

The type of insurance specifically designed for children is known as child-only health insurance. This insurance provides coverage tailored to children’s healthcare needs, offering services like regular check-ups, immunizations, doctor visits, dental care, mental health services, prescriptions, and more.

Do all US children have health insurance?

Not all US children have health insurance. However, programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offer free or low-cost health coverage for eligible children and teens, ensuring access to essential healthcare services.

What is the age limit for life insurance?

The age limit for life insurance varies depending on the type of life insurance policy. Typically, life insurance policies can be purchased at any age, but the cost and availability may vary based on the individual’s age and health condition. It is advisable to consult with insurance providers to determine the specific age limits for life insurance coverage.

Who has the best life insurance for kids?

Determining the best life insurance for kids involves considering various factors, such as coverage options, affordability, and specific needs. Insurance providers like Medicaid, CHIP, and private insurers offer different options for children’s health insurance, each with its own benefits and eligibility criteria. To identify the best life insurance for kids, individuals should assess their requirements and compare available plans from reputable insurers like those mentioned in the sources provided.