First 5 Fresno County Approves $6.4 Million To Expand Health Coverage to Children Ages Five and Under
First 5 Fresno County Children and Families commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to allocate $6.4 million to expand health coverage to all county residents ages five and younger, the Fresno Bee reports.
First 5 commissions statewide provide funding to early childhood programs using funds from a 50-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase approved by state voters in 1998.
The vote on Wednesday is the "first step toward implementing the Children's Health Initiative," which seeks to provide health insurance for all children under age 18, the Bee reports.
The $6.4 million, which will be distributed over three years, will be used in part to help provide health coverage to the nearly 33% of children in Fresno County who do not qualify for Medi-Cal or the Healthy Families program. The initiative's health plan, called Healthy Kids, will provide health coverage to currently uninsured children in families whose annual incomes are between 250% and 300% of the federal poverty level.
The initiative will provide health insurance to undocumented immigrant children. The funding also will be used to create an outreach program to enroll eligible children in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families and to ease the application process for families to enroll children in the programs.
The First 5 Fresno County commissioners next will seek funding to provide health coverage for children ages six to 18, about 20,700 of the 26,000 uninsured children in the county (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 2/3).