KAISER PERMANENTE: To Subsidize Children’s Coverage
Kaiser Permanente, California's largest health maintenance organization, said it will provide subsidized health insurance to about 50,000 uninsured children statewide in an "experimental program" designed to assist the working poor. The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that the HMO is working with the Alvord and Fontana school districts to identify "students and their siblings who are uninsured and unable to get coverage from governmental programs" and hopes to cover 4,000 uninsured children in the Inland area. The Cares for Kids program is part of Kaiser Permanente's "$100 million statewide effort" to help obtain health insurance "within five years" for the estimated 1.7 million uninsured children in the state. Nine out of 10 of uninsured children are in families that work, according to UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research.
What It Takes
Under the program, parents with income between 200% and 275% of the federal poverty level -- roughly $27,000 to $37,000 -- would be eligible. The state's new Healthy Families program will provide coverage to children in families up to 200% of the poverty level. Under the Kaiser program, families would pay $25 to $35 per child per month for HMO coverage. Large families would be fully covered after paying for three children. Kaiser manager Jean Nudelman said the company hopes to begin enrollment in September. The company will "reassess" the program in 2002. In addition to providing the subsidized insurance, the Press-Enterprise reports, "Kaiser says it will work with state lawmakers to expand public insurance for children and is involved in a coalition of health plans, trade associations, businesses and others seeking to develop other strategies to expand coverage" (Beeman, 4/15).