Today, we officially kicked off our annual back to school campaign with a press conference at the Mary Brogan Museum in Tallahassee. With kids seated around the podium, Florida Healthy Kids Board Chair Wendy Link, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and representatives from other state agencies expressed their commitment to making sure Florida children receive quality health services.
Every year, we partner with several state agencies and hundreds community groups to help families apply for healthcare benefits while preparing for the new school year. We believe this is the perfect time to remind parents to apply and make sure health coverage is on their child’s back to school checklist.
The agencies that help us with our outreach campaign include: The Florida Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Education and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. All promote Florida KidCare year-round; yet participating in community events such as school supply giveaways and immunization clinics provides greater access to thousands of families statewide.
We also had two families attend this year to share their experience with the program. Melissa Wilson and Tracie Pitre told reporters that no matter what, they refused to let their kids lose their health insurance benefits through the Florida KidCare program.
Approximately 1.9 million children receive low-cost health insurance through Florida KidCare for children under the age of 19. Children receive coverage under any one the program’s four components – MediKids, Children’s Medical Services Network, Healthy Kids and Children’s Medicaid. Many families pay $20 or less per month, but most pay nothing at all. Full-pay options also are available for families with higher income levels.
As the administrators of Florida KidCare, we have been working hard to provide new updates and resources to make applying for and maintaining coverage easier for families. Updates include:
- An enhanced ‘My Accounts’ section of www.healthykids.org. Parents can check the status of their application, see their monthly premium payment status and review their child’s health plan information.
- More payment options such as cash payments at any Fidelity Express location in Florida; and later this month families can chose to pay their monthly premium via text message through their cell phones.
“In the last twelve months alone, over 95,000 previously uninsured children enrolled in Florida KidCare, gaining access to preventive health care such as regular doctor visits, immunizations, mental health counseling and dental check-ups,” said Healthy Kids Board Chair Link. “The Legislature approved funding to cover an additional 20,000 uninsured children in the program this fiscal year. Through our annual back to school campaign and new administrative changes, we’re going to get kids enrolled.”
We are excited about the upcoming school year, and with the support of our partners, we are going to get families and children covered. Don’t forget to check out our community calendar for back to school events in your area.