KIDDIECARE: Feds Sign Off On Michigan Plan
The federal government yesterday approved Michigan's MIChild plan, a Children's Health Insurance Program (Kiddiecare) that will enable parents of 156,000 uninsured children "to purchase comprehensive health care coverage for their kids for just $5 a month." The Detroit Free Press reports that the new program will insure children under 19 whose families have incomes "within 200% of the federal poverty guidelines -- about $32,000 a year for a family of four." MIChild will be provided through state-contracted HMOs and PPOs, which will provide "checkups, diagnostic services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, prescription drugs, dental services and emergency services" (Wendland, 4/8). No copayments will be required for families under 150% of the federal poverty level, but some copays will be required of families in the 151%-200% of poverty range (HHS release, 4/7). The Free Press reports that with MIChild, "97% of the state's children will have access to health insurance." Gov. John Engler (R) said, "When you realize the crisis in a family where there's somebody without insurance ... what do they do? That should be relegated to a thing of the past. That will be the way it was before 1998."
MIChild Joins The Bunch
The Free Press reports that Michigan "expects to spend up to $27 million in federal and $13 million in state money this year to run the program," and next year the state stands to gain up to $92 million in federal dollars (4/8). Michigan is the ninth state to have its CHIP plan approved. Together, these nine states anticipate providing health insurance coverage for more than one million currently uninsured children over the next three years. "Many of these children come from working families, who play by the rules, but still don't earn enough to afford coverage for their kids. CHIP is bringing healthier lives to America's children, and peace of mind to America's working families," Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said (HHS release, 4/7).