Bridge to Benefits
Caring for Children
2010

Caring for Children is for North Dakota children, birth up to age 19, who do not have health insurance coverage, do not qualify for Medicaid or Healthy Steps, and live in families with a household income between 161% to 200% of Federal Poverty Level. 

Due to funding, Caring for Children will no longer be enrolling any members in 2014.
  1. What is Caring for Children and who is eligible?
  2. What services does Caring for Children cover?
  3. How does Caring for Children work?
  4. How do I get an application for Caring for Children?
  5. What is the application like?
  6. Do I have to go in person to apply?
  7. Where do I send my application?
  8. How soon will my child be able to get on the program?
  9. What do I have to do to have my child stay on the program?
  10. How often do I need to renew coverage for Caring for Children?
  11. Does my child have to be a U.S. citizen to get Caring for Children?
  12. Does it matter how long my child has lived in North Dakota?
  13. Will Caring for Children pay medical bills for services before my child got on Caring for Children?
  14. Are there any rules about pre-existing conditions in Caring for Children?
  15. Is there a list of doctors to go to?
  16. What are assets and why are they asked about on the application?
  17. What does Caring for Children cost? Are there co-payments?
  18. What kinds of things are counted as income?
  19. Does a stepparent’s income count?

1. What is Caring for Children and who is eligible?
Caring for Children is for North Dakota children, birth up to age 19, who do not have health insurance coverage, do not qualify for Medicaid or Healthy Steps, and live in families with a household income between 161% to 200% of Federal Poverty Level.  Children also must meet citizenship requirements.  Indian Health Services is NOT health insurance.

Caring for Children is a program of the North Dakota Caring Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that was begun by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) in 1989. In support of the foundation, BCBSND provides all administrative services for the foundation and Caring for Children, as an in-kind donation. 100% of all donations is used to provide access to health and dental care for eligible children and pay for the "premiums" of enrolled members.

However, due to lack of funding, Caring for Children will not be enrolling any new members in 2014.

2. What services does Caring for Children cover?
Caring for Children’s main focus is primary and preventive care. Office visits, limited inpatient and emergency services, mental health services, preventive well-child exams, immunizations and preventive dental care are covered. An annual eye exam & glasses are provided by Sight for Students (A VSP Program). For questions about coverage, you can refer to the benefits handbook provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) or call their Toll Free number at (800) 342-4718.

3. How does Caring for Children work?
You will get two (2) Health Care cards for each child who is eligible for the program.  One card will be used for health care and the second card will apply to dental care. You  will need to request a Sight for Students (A VSP Program) certificate, to receive an eye exam, from a VSP provider. You should bring all cards with you when you go to the doctor or dentist, or get any health service.

4. How do I get an application for Caring for Children?
There is no separate application for Caring for Children. There is one application that will determine if you are eligible for Medicaid, Healthy Steps or Caring for Children. If you are determined to be ineligible for Medicaid and Healthy Steps, your information will automatically be forwarded to Caring for Children, unless you check the box on the application stating you do not want to be referred to Caring for Children.
You can get the Application for Health Care Coverage at your county social services office or by calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669). Healthy Steps brochures include a postage-paid reply postcard which can be used to send for an application. Applications are also available on the North Dakota State Department of Human Services web site  or by clicking on the information in the next question. You may complete an online application which will be electronically sent to your county social service office, who will determine your qualification for programs.

5. What is the application like?
There are two application forms. You can use either form to apply for health care coverage in North Dakota.  One form is the Application for Health Care Coverage. It is 8 pages long and will ask you about everyone who lives with you, how much money they make, and your household expenses. This application enables you to apply only for Medicaid, Healthy Steps, and Caring for Children.

The second application is the Application for Assistance and is about 17 pages long. It will enable you also to be screened for eligibility for Child Care Assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP - formerly Food Stamps). It also will ask you about everyone who lives with you, how much money they make, and your household expenses. If you want, you also can use this same application to apply for cash assistance (TANF). 

You may complete an online application which will be electronically sent to your county social service office, who will determine your qualification for programs.


6. Do I have to go in person to apply?
No. Completed applications can be mailed to the North Dakota Department of Human Services in Bismarck for processing or to your county social services office. Face to face interviews are not necessary to apply for health care coverage in North Dakota. You will have to provide copies of “documents of proof” that show your income (such as pay stubs or tax returns). You can complete the application yourself or you can get help filling it out from a county social services worker. Be sure to send COPIES of your proof of income documents. You may complete an online application which will be electronically sent to your county social service office, who will determine your qualification for programs.

7. Where do I send my application?
If you are mailing your completed application, you should send it to the North Dakota Department of Human Services at:

North Dakota Department of Human Services
600 East Boulevard Avenue Dept 325
Bismarck, ND 58505-0250
FAX: 701-328-2085

You may complete an online application which will be electronically sent to your county social service office, who will determine your qualification for programs.

Or the completed application can be dropped off or mailed to your local county social services office.  To get the address, phone number, and office hours of your county social services office.

You may call this office with questions: 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).

8. How soon will my child be able to get on the program?
Applications are processed as quickly as possible, however, it may take several weeks. To speed up the processing time, parents should be sure to send in a completed application and to include copies of all household income verification.  Caring for Children coverage usually begins on the first day of the next month after eligibility is determined. Please read the letter you receive carefully.

9. What do I have to do to have my child stay on the program?
Things you must report include births, deaths, moving out of state, address change, if you become eligible for other health coverage, and people moving in or out of your household.  If your child is enrolled in Caring for Children and there are any changes listed above, you must notify the Caring for Children office at 1-800-342-4718.

10. How often do I need to renew coverage for Caring for Children?
When a child is enrolled in Caring for Children, the child is covered for a 12 month period, if he or she remains in the household, continues to live in North Dakota and doesn't obtain other health coverage. Because the goal is to cover as many uninsured children as possible, families need to report any changes in insurance coverage. Caring for Children will contact each family by mail twice a year to verify that the enrolled child(ren) are still living in the home and that they do not have other health coverage. Before the 12 month enrollment period ends, families will also be contacted (with a letter and a renewal application) about re-applying for health care coverage. NOTE: To keep health coverage in place, it is important for families to respond quickly to these notifications.

11. Does my child have to be a U.S. citizen to get Caring for Children?
No, but you need a Social Security Number for each child for whom you are applying to get assistance from Caring for Children.  A child must be a US citizen or an alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence.  Non US citizens need proof of the lawful status of each child for whom you are requesting assistance (such as a resident alien card or a temporary resident card).

12. Does it matter how long my child has lived in North Dakota?
It doesn’t matter how long your child has lived in this state.

13. Will Caring for Children pay medical bills for services before my child got on Caring for Children?
No. It will not pay for any past medical bills.

14. Are there any rules about pre-existing conditions in Caring for Children?
No. Caring for Children has no pre-existing condition rules. If a family meets the eligibility guidelines, a child's pre-existing medical condition does not exclude him or her from coverage.

15. Is there a list of doctors to go to?
Yes. Once your child is determined eligible for Caring for Children, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota will mail you a Participating Provider List that contains a list of participating providers. You will also receive a Benefit Plan, which provides a list of services available through Caring for Children.

16. What are assets and why are they asked about on the application?
Assets can be checking or savings accounts, vehicles, campers, boats, snowmobiles, life insurance policies, land, a house, etc. Because there is no "asset test" for health care coverage in North Dakota, a family can own a house, two cars, and other assets and their children may still be eligible for health care coverage. The question is included in the application because responses may help the state receive additional federal money for health care programs.

17. What does Caring for Children cost? Are there co-payments?
There are no monthly premium costs to participating families. There is a $3.00 co-pay for allowable restorative dental work.

18. What kinds of things are counted as income?
 All income that a household receives must be reported as income (examples: self-employment income or wages earned from an employer). Unearned income such as unemployment, child support and social security are all considered income. Verification of income should be submitted with the application. Families should send in copies of the previous month's paycheck stubs and report any expected income differences. If an individual does not receive paycheck stubs, Healthy Steps will accept a signed letter from an employer stating what the gross monthly salary and withholdings are.

19. Does a stepparent’s income count?
A stepparent is not financially responsible for a stepchild, but he or she is responsible for his or her spouse. So, the income should be reported and verified.