A New York State children's health insurance program began in 1990 that was relatively unheard of until a 1997 federal mandate, requiring funds received under Title XXI of the Social Security Act to be put towards such a program, pushed it into the spotlight. Originally, enrollment was limited to low income families with children under the age of 13. Today it's been expanded to coverage for children under 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid and who do not have insurance from their parents, regardless of family income.

On the consumer's end it's a lot simpler than most private health plans. While there is a sliding-scale monthly enrollment fee per child, there is no co-pay required when you visit a provider's office. All factors considered, this plan is a shining example that public health insurance is headed in a positive direction.

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