Florida Kidcare kicks off in Broward
More immigrant children to get access to care
Thousands of children of legal immigrants will now have more streamlined access to subsidized health insurance, as the must anticipated and revamped Florida Kidcare program will be kicking off This Friday, July 1st, 2016 Under the new regulations, children of legal immigrant will no longer have to wait five years to receive services from the low-cost federal state health insurance program.
The news is much welcomes for children in Broward County, says Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (DOH-Broward), which enrolls children in KidCare.
“We have 48,000 uninsured children in Broward County and thousands of them could benefit,” says Dr. Thaqi. “This will be a great help to families who really need the coverage.”
DOH-Broward has already begun registering families ahead of the July 1st start date. The new rules affect several categories of legal immigrants, including those holding green cards, says Rebecca Miele, Manager of KidCare Outreach at DOH-Broward. Even if a family is not sure whether the new rules apply to them, Miele urges them to call KidCare to find out.
Under the new system, more families will be eligible for Florida Medicaid, which is part of KidCare. If they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, they can apply for subsidized coverage in Healthy Kids, which also is part of KidCare. Healthy Kids insurance costs as little as $15 to $20 per month for an entire household of children.
Families who earn too much to receive the subsidized rate can still enroll in “full-pay” Healthy Kids coverage, which remains less costly than most insurance on the private market, Miele says.
State officials estimate that over 15,000 more families will become eligible for Medicaid and 17,000 more for Healthy Kids.
These changes were approved this past January, after state legislature passed a bill reforming KidCare programs, removing the wait period for lawfully present children who would otherwise qualify based on their family income and Florida residency. Prior to this legislation, most non-citizen children living in Florida had to be lawfully in the United States at least five years before they qualified for subsidized health insurance through the Florida KidCare program.