AUSTIN (AP) — Getting tested and having your children’s immunizations and vaccines done can be stressful, but for some kids it can be life-saving.
The Associated Press is exploring the challenges parents face when they choose a doctor.
Here’s a rundown: • Can you afford to pay for testing?
The cost of a test for sexually transmitted diseases is often higher than the cost of testing for HIV/AIDS.
So for some children, it may be worth it to get tested to be sure they are at lower risk of getting HIV/AIDs.
• Will my children get tested?
Many parents want to be able to know whether their children will get tested and whether their kids can be at higher risk.
They can choose from two testing options.
If your child is over 18 and does not have a current diagnosis, a full test can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.
If you have a child younger than 18 and you don’t know how old your child might be, the full test will cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000 depending on the tests you choose.
• Can I afford it?
Most health insurance plans pay for most testing.
For most children who are over 18, most health plans will cover all tests, even if your insurance won’t cover them.
Some parents may have to pay out-of-pocket for tests, but if your child has health insurance, your insurer will pay for the tests.
For some kids, a test can be a lifesaver.
But some parents might not have health insurance and need to pay more out of pocket for the test.
If that happens, you should talk to your insurance company to see if there is a way to get a discounted price.
• What can I do if my child doesn’t have a test?
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your children.
Talk to your child’s doctor about the risk of contracting HIV and AIDs, or if your kid has been diagnosed with an infection that can cause HIV/ AIDs.
Tell your doctor if you are concerned your child will get infected if you or your partner is exposed to the virus.
Talk with your child about any possible medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
If it is safe for your child to get an HIV test, you can get one by contacting the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention.
Some states have laws requiring testing for sexually transmissible diseases.
If so, your state may require that you and your partner take a test in your state.
Some health insurance companies cover HIV tests for a child who has not been diagnosed.
For more information, call the National STD Prevention Network at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
• If my child is too young to get HIV test or has been infected, can I pay for it myself?
Many insurers require parents to pay the test for their children if they can’t afford it.
Some insurance companies have policies that will pay your child the full cost of the test and then reimburse you for up to $10,000 for out- of-pocket costs.
If the test costs more than $10 to get, you will have to make a claim for it.
You can find more information on how to get paid for a test at www.hiv.gov.
If my kid is older and is HIV positive, what should I do?
If your kid is HIV-positive and your family is covered by your health insurance plan, your insurance can pay for all tests for your children, even those that cost less.
But your insurance carrier may not be able pay for a full HIV test for your younger child, unless you have coverage for your older child.
If this happens, talk with your insurer about how to negotiate the full price for the HIV test.
• How do I get the HIV tests at my hospital?
Depending on where your hospital is located, you may have access to HIV tests.
If there is an HIV clinic in your area, they will provide HIV tests and test strips at no charge.
But if your hospital doesn’t offer HIV tests, you might have to arrange to see a doctor to get the test results.
You may be able get a referral from your health care provider to your doctor or hospital.
If I don’t have insurance, can my doctor charge me for the testing?
Some insurance plans don’t cover HIV testing for uninsured adults, so some insurance companies won’t pay for tests for uninsured people.
You should talk with a health insurance company about whether your insurance plan will cover testing.
You might be able find out how to pay by calling the National HIV, STDs, and AIDS Project at 1/800-222-1364.
• Does my insurance cover testing for STDs?
Some health plans do cover HIV test strips, but you can’t get test strips if your health plan doesn’t cover testing, so your insurer may charge you for testing if you’re uninsured.