Low-Cost Health Coverage Available to More Florida Children
Last spring, the Florida Legislature passed a new law giving access to subsidized health insurance for about 17,000 children of lawfully residing immigrants.
This success was the result of several years of work by The Children's Movement of Florida and other major child-advocacy groups.
Previously, many non-citizen children had to wait five years before they could apply for health insurance through one of the state's four KidCare programs. That changed on July 1, when the new law took effect and the waiting period was eliminated.
That was a huge first step, and the next one is just as crucial. A statewide outreach effort in the public and private sectors is underway to inform parents of eligible children, so they can take advantage of these programs.
Children who get regular medical and dental care usually perform at their best and miss fewer days of school. KidCare covers a variety of services, including doctor visits and shots, hospitalizations and surgeries, prescriptions, as well as vision, dental and mental health care.
Though this new law targeted the wait list, Florida children from birth to 18 years old may be eligible for KidCare if they meet program requirements. Even those whose parents have employer-sponsored health insurance may qualify for the free to low-cost plans, though KidCare will not begin until the other coverage has ended.
Again, the key is effective, broad-based outreach by businesses and chambers of commerce, public and private schools and pre-schools, faith-based groups and many others to let families know about KidCare. There are now an estimated 378,000 uninsured children in Florida, yet a majority of them -- about 230,000 - are already eligible to apply for affordable health insurance through the state.
Checking out these programs doesn't cost a penny. For more information, go to www.floridakidcare.org or call 1-888-540-5437.