I was careful to hold onto most of my birthday money since I anticipated this cost, but I'm mildly concerned about how/where I'll come up with the money if she ultimately needs surgery. As usual, I'll try everything else first since out-of-pocket medical care is ridiculously expensive and I'm in a legal morass with eligibility for low-income aid.
Texas' CHIP requirements are pretty basic: children have to be Texas residents, US citizens or legal permanent residents, under age 19, uninsured for at least 90 days (Laurel's been uninsured for almost two years), and living in a family that meets the income requirements (<$2,139 monthly/$25,668 annually for a family of two; <$2,682 monthly/$32,184 annually for a family of three).
We established residency this summer, but the real question is how they'll evaluate income. Laurel wasn't eligible for reduced-price lunches because they go by household income (i.e., everyone the student lives with) so Vogon's income disqualified her even though he's not legally her guardian. I hope Himself's income doesn't count because he has made no financial contribution to her support since fall 2003.
1. At Laurel's 3-year well-child checkup, the pediatrician insisted that Laurel needed a vision evaluation ASAP. Since we were unable to get an appointment at the only Tricare-approved children's ophthalmologists in the Denver area before our coverage ended, I called a local optometrist for a recommendation. Our experience with Children's Eye Physicians was abysmal: they didn't measure her vision in both eyes, told me she was virtually blind in her right eye (virtual BS, since she could read letters on aisle signs in the supermarket from half an aisle away with her left eye covered) and the fewer than ten minutes we talked with an actual doctor, who wasn't present during the testing, was entirely a pitch for $10,000 eye muscle surgery, the most common procedure the practice performs.