Tampa's Free Or Low Cost Health Insurance For Children

6:23 AM, Oct 19, 2011   |    comments
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Studies show that healthy children tend to learn better in school. Given that fact, many of Tampa Bay's children are going to school everyday with the odds stack against them.

In today's unsteady declining economy, shrinking incomes and double-digit unemployment rates Bay Area families are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. It's not hard to understand what hits families hard, hits children even harder. The facts are grim, in Tampa Bay one in five children under 18 live in poverty. That's over 200,000 children in the Bay Area that are living third world lives. Most of these children are not only living in poverty, but they do so without any health insurance. Florida's Kidcare Program wants to change that.

Florida's KidCare provides low or no-cost health insurance for children up to the age of 18 whose family incomes are too low to afford regular health care coverage for them.  There are four programs: Children's medicaid, MediKids, Healthy Kids, and Children's Medical Services. Most families pay $15 or $20 a month. There is no charge for Medicaid for children's KidCare Medicaid.

Why is health insurance for children so important? Healthy children learn better in school. Studies also show that hospitalized uninsured children are 60% more likely to die than children who are covered by either private or government insurance plans. Parents of uninsured children fearful of high medical bills often delay bringing their gravely sick children to the hospital. When they finally do bring the children in, the illnesses have usually progressed too far to save them. Experts agree, regular check-ups and more prompt medical attention would have caught these illnesses sooner with better outcomes and less added medical expenses.

Kidcare is a Florida State run program that offers health insurance for children from birth through age 18, even if one or both parents are working. There are four different programs. When you apply for the insurance, Florida KidCare will check which part your child may qualify for based on the child's age and family income. These programs are:

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.

Some of the medical services Florida KidCare covers are:

Doctor visits
Check-ups and shots
Hospital
Surgery
Prescriptions
Emergencies
Vision and hearing
Dental
Mental health

For more information on how to apply for KidCare, go to www.FloridaKidCare.org or call 1-888-540-5437.

http://tampa.cbslocal.com

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