An estimated 50,000 uninsured kids will receive medical coverage from legislation the governor signed today. The legislation shortens the waiting time to enroll in the state’s Kid Care program and lessens the penalties for missing a premium payment. As Whitney Ray tells us, child advocates call the legislation a good start, but say more needs to be done.
Karen Carter is a single mother who depends of Kid Care to keep her two children healthy.
“Health care is something very important to have. You don’t know when sickness will strike. You don’t know what can happen, especially when you have children,” said Karen.
The Kid Care program offers low cost insurance to children up to ages 19. But penalties and a lengthy application process have kept thousand of families out.
Governor Charlie Crist signed legislation shortening the waiting period for eligible families who voluntarily cancelled their private insurance to sign up for Kid Care. It also reduced the waiting period to reenroll after a family misses a payment.
“It can expand the eligibility to almost 50,000 additional children in the state of Florida. It’s incredible,” said Crist.
Children’s Advocates have been pushing the legislation for three years. Karen Woodall wanted restriction loosened to let in even more families and pregnant women.
“This legislation didn’t do any of that, but it was critical that we removed the barriers before we expand eligibility, because if you are losing kids out the back door it’s false advertisement,” said Woodall.
And a lack of advertisement has been one of the major problems facing the program. 1.5 million kids are enrolled in Kid Care, but there’s little money available to spread the word.