Healthy Kids Programs Could Have Wait Lists for Older Children
Healthy Kids programs in Fresno and Tulare counties could have waiting lists to enroll some children because the programs do not have sufficient funds to provide health insurance coverage to uninsured children ages five to 18, the Fresno Bee reports. Funding from a state tobacco tax will cover premiums for children younger than age five.
Healthy Kids is a public-private program that helps provide health, dental and vision insurance to children younger than age 19 whose families cannot afford coverage but are ineligible for public health insurance programs. Children are eligible for the program if their household income does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level.
Program administrators in Fresno County began accepting applications for the program in January, and Tulare County program administrators began enrolling eligible children this month. Of the 204 children who applied for coverage in Fresno County by Jan. 27, 177 were older than age five. Similarly, 137 of the 168 children enrolled in the Tulare County program in its first 11 days were older than age five.
Fresno County has received a $630,000 grant from the California Endowment to help pay for premiums for children ages five to 18, according to Dorinda Ohnstad, program director for the Children's Health Initiative in Fresno County. The grant will cover premium costs for about 750 older children for one year, she said.
Tulare County has received a $250,000 grant, which will cover premiums for about 225 older children. Tulare County has applied for an additional grant from the Blue Shield of California Foundation.
The California HealthCare Foundation awarded a $150,000 grant to develop a CHI program in Kings County. Madera County's program is focusing its efforts on increasing enrollment in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 2/24).