UNINSURED CHILDREN: Kaiser Family Foundation And California HealthCare Foundation Award Grant To Study Program
The Kaiser Family Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation have awarded grants of almost $450,000 to the University of California-San Francisco to evaluate the effectiveness of Kaiser Permanente's Cares for Kids Child Health Plan. According to the HMO, the program provides subsidized health care coverage to more than 40,000 uninsured children in California who do not qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families and whose parents either cannot afford coverage or do not have access to employer-based coverage. "We're pleased that the Kaiser Family Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation have committed resources for this important evaluation," said Linda Kotis, director of the Cares for Kids program. "We eagerly await the results, which will help inform policymakers and health plans themselves about the kinds of fiscal and additional resources, such as education and case management, needed to provide care for children who have not received health care on a regular basis," she said.
Making A Dent
Kaiser Permanente reports that about 20%, or 1.7 million Californian children are uninsured. Starting this fall, the Care's for Kids Child Health Plan will provide comprehensive coverage for about 43,000 uninsured children over a five-year period. The evaluation, to be conducted by UCSF's Institute for Health Policy Studies, will examine cost and utilization patterns for those children enrolled in the Child Health plan and compare them with Medi-Cal and employer-sponsored coverage programs. "Very little is known about the costs of providing health care for formerly uninsured children. This evaluation will contribute unique information about these children," said Dr. Tracy Lieu who is participating in the evaluation. "The fact that we are comparing formerly uninsured children with commercially insured children will generate data and recommendations for tailoring services for this population, as they enter managed care settings," she said. Parents who want to find out if their children are eligible for the Child Health Plan can call 1-800-255-5053 (Kaiser Permanente release, 8/12).