Health insurance available for youthPublished 9:50am Saturday, October 20, 2012
To the Editor:
The teenage years can be full of excitement.
There are many new adventures to look forward to — starting high school, attending homecoming dances, starring in the school play and applying to colleges, to name a few.
This can also be a scary and uncomfortable time for parents and teens — getting a driver’s license, peer pressure to engage in risky behaviors, hormones in full swing and the stressors of what is happening in the world at large — in your town and household.
All of this could add up to one seriously stressed out teen and, occasionally, a few minor scrapes, bruises and, perhaps, a broken heart.
Unfortunately, not all teens will be that lucky. A car accident, a chronic condition like diabetes, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, or a teen pregnancy can be overwhelming. In addition to the devastating emotional toll, these events can have serious financial implications for a family, especially if the teen is uninsured.
Oct. 22-27 is Teen Health Week. The purpose is to focus attention on the more than 66,000 teens in Virginia who lack health insurance and to highlight health topics of particular interest to teens.
Teen Health Week was designed to let families know about the availability of state-sponsored low- or no-cost health insurance for children under the age of 19 called the FAMIS programs.
The programs provide comprehensive health care services to eligible children including doctor’s visits, vision, dental and mental health, prescriptions, hospitalization and much, much more.
Many parents don’t even know that their children may be eligible. Eligibility is based on family size and income.
Children must be residents of Virginia and U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. A family of four can make up to $46,100 a year and be eligible.
For more information about the FAMIS programs, families in the City of Franklin, Isle of Wight and Southampton counties can call Christina Watts at Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater at 757- 562-8770.
Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater has outreach workers who can help you apply for coverage for your children.
Ellen D. Couch
Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater