KIDDIECARE: New Hampshire, West Virginia Get Go-Ahead
The Clinton administration yesterday announced approval of New Hampshire's plan to extend health insurance to children of the working poor. The state's Kiddiecare program could receive as much as $11 million in new funds under the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (HHS release, 9/15). In announcing the plan yesterday, Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) said, "Children without health insurance end up getting care that is delivered too late and costs too much." She noted that in the long run, it is cheaper for the state to provide preventive care to children. The AP/Foster's Daily Democrat reports that the program "will be run through a partnership between the state, the Healthy Kids Corp. and the Healthy New Hampshire Foundation." It will also be "split into two parts": Healthy Kids Gold and Healthy Kids Silver. The Gold plan will take the place of Medicaid "for poor families who earn up to 185% of the federal poverty level" ($16,450 for a family of four). Gold plan coverage will also be extended to families earning up to 300% of poverty who have infants less than a year old. Tricia Brooks of Healthy Kids Corp. said the Gold program "will take a managed care approach," and "instead of providing unlimited coverage" will institute caps on certain services such as physical therapy and mental health. The Silver plan will cover children ages 1-19 whose families earn between 185% and 300% of the poverty level. Families in the Silver plan will have to pay premiums on a sliding scale, ranging from $20 to $80 per month. Shaheen said federal funds would cover about 65% of the costs of the program, with the other 35% coming from the state. State officials expect the Silver program to cover between 2,600 and 3,000 children in the first year (9/15).
West Virginia received federal approval for the first phase of its planned Kiddiecare program. This phase will cover children ages 1-5 from families earning up to 150% of the poverty level. These children will be covered through the state's Medicaid program (HHS release, 9/15). While the expanded Medicaid coverage has been available since July, a West Virginia health official this week noted that only 131 children are enrolled in the program. The state estimates that 1,700 are eligible for this coverage (Kabler, Charleston Gazette, 9/14).