Just up in our local newspaper:
With school around the corner, Florida officials push health care for kids
By Paul Flemming
Florida Capital Bureau
With a national health care debate raging, Florida officials Thursday pushed for enrollment in the state’s low-cost insurance program for children.
Back-to-school preparations should include making sure children are covered by health insurance. Uninsured children under 19 in families that meet income guidelines can get affordable coverage in the multi-agency program.
“Back to school is the time parents are thinking about it,” said Loranne Ausley, chair of the Florida Healthy Kids board. “Health insurance is available.”
There are1.6 million children in the 11-year-old KidCare. Its eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures have changed many times, leading to a 40 percent reduction from 2004-06. But further changes have increased enrollment since 2007. Since July, more than 50,000 previously uninsured children have signed up and started getting care.
The income guidelines include pro-rated premiums for families up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The majority do not pay premiums, but low-cost coverage is available with rates ranging from $15 to $159 a month.
Leah McCarthy sells real estate in Tallahassee. Her 8-year-old daughter has been enrolled in KidCare since she was 3 and on Wednesday McCarthy extolled the virtues of the program.
“KidCare rescued us, basically,” McCarthy said. “I’m a hard-working professional and mother, but I don’t know how we would make it without KidCare. I’d be drowning in debt.”
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp said the national debate about the Obama Administration’s health care proposals is a chance to highlight Florida’s programs.
“It’s affordable, it’s comprehensive and it’s easy to apply,” Kottkamp said.
Efforts by the Departments of Health, Education and Children and Families, along with the Agency for Workforce Innovation aim to increase enrollment distributing information through county health departments, direct mailings and promotional materials. More information is available at http://www.floridakidcare.org.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Ausley said.