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IBX Insights

Your Back-to-School Children’s Health Checklist

By August 1, 2017July 25th, 2023Health Insurance Member Resources
A group of smiling kids get off of the school bus

Kids are going back to school, which means that parents have some homework to do: how do you get the care that will help your children thrive this year?

If you are enrolled in a health insurance plan through Independence Blue Cross, your dependents will enjoy the same coverage. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health plans must cover a range of essential benefits for children at no additional out-of-pocket cost. This coverage is all about letting kids get the best start in life, and includes yearly-check-ups, immunizations, counseling, and screenings.

So what services should you seek for your little student? Here’s a helpful checklist to prepare your child for school.

Back-to-School Health Checklist

Be up-to-date on vaccines

Vaccinations protect children from a range of serious illnesses, and are covered as an essential health benefit (here’s more info on immunizations). They are often necessary for some children to be enrolled in certain schools. If you aren’t sure if your child is up-to-date in his or her vaccination schedule, check their personal health record on, then make an appointment right away. And don’t forget about that flu shot!

Get an annual physical

No back-to-school health checklist would be complete without an annual physical. These head-to-toe checkups may also be required for your child to attend school or to participate in extracurricular activities. The good news is that a well-child visit is yet another essential health benefit. Our Provider Finder will help you find local family doctors covered by your plan.

Make the most of dental and vision coverage

For kids, going to the dentist can be, well, like going to the dentist. But pain from cavities can distract your children from learning — or even keep them home from school. Annual vision exams are also important. Here’s why: Simple screenings can miss up to 60 percent of vision conditions, including some that may mean your child needs glasses. It’s best to correct these problems early, so your child can focus on schoolwork. Literally! Most medical plans through Independence Blue Cross include dental and vision care coverage for children until they turn 19. Check your plan for details.

Don’t have insurance? Try CHIP

The last portion of our back-to-school health checklist is geared towards low-income families, or families who aren’t enrolled in a health insurance plan but are looking to cover their kids. If you fall under this category, you can apply for a PA CHIP plan (Children’s Health Insurance Program). CHIP provides high-quality coverage for free or at a reduced cost, depending on a family’s income.

To qualify, the child must be:

  • 18 and younger
  • A U.S. Citizen, U.S. National or Qualified Alien
  • A resident of Pennsylvania
  • Uninsured and not eligible for Medical Assistance

If your child doesn’t qualify for CHIP, don’t worry: Open enrollment for 2019 begins on November 1. Independence Blue Cross offers a variety of affordable health plans to fit your family’s needs and budget.

Ok, parents, were you taking notes? Be sure to study up on these important back-to-school health tips. But don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz.


Paula Sunshine

Paula Sunshine is senior vice president and chief marketing executive at Independence Blue Cross. She oversees all commercial and consumer marketing activities, including digital assets such as and the IBX mobile app. Ms. Sunshine earned a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Emory University and a master of business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.