Santa Cruz County Launches Program To Expand Health Coverage to Children
Officials for Santa Cruz County on Saturday officially launched Healthy Kids, a program intended to provide health coverage to uninsured children up to age 18 who do not qualify for other health benefit programs because of family income or immigration status, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. The Healthy Kids program covers children in families that have annual incomes of up to 300% of the federal poverty level. The Sentinel reports that the program uses a "relatively simple and quick" Web-based application to determine if children are eligible for existing health benefits programs such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families or should be enrolled in Healthy Kids (McCord, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 6/27). Rachael Nava, program manager for Healthy Kids of Santa Cruz County, said that the Web-based application process is helpful because it allows parents to determine their children's eligibility for programs in one place and because it is the region's first application process to be "paperless" (McLaughlin, San Jose Mercury News, 6/27).
The $2.6 million program is administered by the Central Coast Alliance for Health, and is funded by a 10-year annual commitment of $900,000 from First 5 Santa Cruz County and $600,000 from the county Health Services Agency. In addition, local hospitals, the California HealthCare Foundation, the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation are contributing to the program (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 6/27). "It's a lot of local money that's coming together -- and that's pretty exciting," Nava said (San Jose Mercury News, 6/27). According to the Sentinel, about half of the county's 5,000 uninsured children will be covered under Healthy Kids. Alan McKay, executive director of Central Coast Alliance for Health, said that 93 children have already qualified for the program (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 6/27). Santa Cruz is the 10th county to establish such a program for children, the Mercury News reports (San Jose Mercury News, 6/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.