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KidsCare accepting new applications for low income children after five year enrollment freeze

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 20:31:15-04
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Starting Tuesday, the five year freeze on children's low income health insurance program KidsCare is over, and now thousands of children and their families will be able to afford health insurance. 
The federal government is funding the KidsCare program for the next two years, so this will not impact our state budget. It is expected that 30,000 to 40,000 children in the state of Arizona will enroll in just the first year.
KidsCare provides full health insurance for children under the age of 19 who are not eligible for the state "AHCCCS" insurance program because they make too much money yet still can't afford health insurance from the general marketplace. 
Eligible applicants must:
  • Be an Arizona resident under 19 years old
  • Have a social security number 
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have appropriate non-citizen status
  • Not be eligible for the state employees health benefits plan
  • Not have health insurance for the past three months
  • Family income under a certain limit

KidsCare is a public private partnership. Families can apply even if the parents have their own health insurance from an employer. Monthly premiums cost families no more than $70 a month, and some families can qualify to get services completely free. The insurance will also include vision and dental services for the same price.

Some are concerned that the this could just be a temporary fix because the funding is only for two years, at which point enrollment could be frozen again. Getting the freeze lifted was one of the most contentious fights in this most recent legislative session.
The coverage focuses on preventative care, and local groups who work the children this funding will benefit say this will take a large burden off of our emergency rooms.
"It's a great prevention tool," said Susie Huhn, the CEO of Casa de los Ninos. "Kids need good health care. It just saves money. Otherwise they're going to end up in the emergency rooms getting care and it's uncompensated care which costs the whole system more money."
Several places around town like the El Rio Community Health Center and St. Elizabeth's Health Center will help you sign up. You can call their offices or visit their centers, and they will help you enroll.
Applications are available now online. If you'd like to apply, click HERE to get started. Coverage begins as early as September 1.