Community outreach efforts designed to make sure eligible families in need in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville know about and enroll in Florida’s KidCare free- and reduced-cost health insurance programs for children, will continue through the 2010-2011 school year with support from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF).
The WPHF has approved a $21,900 grant to the Orange County Healthy Start Coalition, Inc., the community agency that manages the outreach efforts in Orange County through the work of Aracely Robledo, the KidCare Program outreach worker and Dawn Steward, KidCare Partnership Coordinator for Orange & Seminole counties.
Ms. Robledo, who has provided outreach for four years, works with WPHF-supported school nurses and nurse practitioners or physician assistants in the Student Health Centers serving local schools to identify uninsured children and their families.
She then helps families apply for coverage and follows up until the family has been approved or de- denied. Ms. Robledo also makes sure families know what is required to maintain coverage.
Between Ms. Robledo’s grassroots efforts and Ms. Steward’s leadership and promotional expertise, along with the impact of the struggling economy, there was a 30 percent increase in enrollment during Spring 2010 among local families.
Through Florida KidCare, the state of Florida offers health insurance for children from birth through age 18, even if one or both parents are working. It includes four different parts. When you apply for the insurance, Florida KidCare determines which part your child may qualify for based on age and family income:
MediKids: children ages 1 through 4.
Healthy Kids: children ages 5 through 18.
Children’s Medical Services Network: children birth through 18 who have special health care needs.
Medicaid: children birth through 18. A child who has other health insurance may still qualify for Medicaid.
There is no charge for Medicaid for children. For other Florida KidCare programs, monthly premiums depend on the household’s size and income. Most families pay $15 or $20 a month.
While Florida formerly provided funds to promote the program, it no longer does making it more important than ever to support proactive and strategic efforts to reach out to families who are in need to be sure they are aware of the opportunity to obtain free- or reduced-cost health care coverage for their children, said Debbie Watson, WPHF Vice President. In addition, Ms. Robledo and Ms. Steward provide 1:1 assistance to families during the enrollment process; a much-needed service given language and/or literacy barriers.
Experts estimate one in four children in Florida are uninsured even though opportunities for coverage exist.
Parents can call 407-836-2528 to learn more about the KidCare program and get enrollment assistance from Ms. Robledo.