April 28th, 2008 email from Karen Woodall:
We had hoped that the Conference committee would add the seamless transition from Medicaid into Healthy Kids or Medikids to the implementing bill over the weekend. The money to accomplish this policy change is already in the budget -- $13.4 million in General Reveue for 38,000 additional slots.
It is estimated that 17,000 children lose their Medicaid coverage every month because their family's income goes up or they age out of income eligibility for Medicaid. However, the majority of them are still elgibile for another KidCare program because their family income is below 200% of the federal poverty level.
WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIX THIS PROBLEM FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW AND ONCE AGAIN WE HAD AGREEMENT FROM THE PROVIDERS AND ADVOCATES THAT THIS WAS A CRITICAL AREA TO FIX IN ORDER TO STREAMLINE THE PROGRAM AND IN ORDER TO KEEP CHILDREN COVERED.
In order to implement this policy change within the existing budget appropriation we suggested that it go into effect in January of 2009. This would provide 6 months of policy experience and would be within the allocation with a cost of $9.45 million (out of the $13.4 million) in state dollars.
There will be an estimating conference next year that would take in to account the effect of the policy change on keeping children in the program rather than relying on them losing coverage for several months and future appropriations would be based on that experience.
LEGISLATORS SEEMED WILLING TO TAKE THIS STEP. HOWEVER, THERE NOW SEEMS TO BE RELUCTANCE TO MOVE FORWARD AS THEY ARE PLANNING TO USE THE $13.4 MILLION TO COVER THE ADDITION OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND OTHER SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS NOT CURRENTLY COVERED BY PRIVATE INSURANCE TO THE FULL PAY PORTION OF THE KIDCARE PROGRAM --- the current plan in the House does not appear to offer that coverage to the lowest income families enrolled in Medicaid and Title XXI (subsidized portion of KidCare)...this is still a fluid issue that has not been resolved.
ACTION NEEDED TODAY -- PLEASE CALL THE SENATE PRESIDENT AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AND URGE THEM TO FIX THE MEDICAID TRANSITION FROM MEDICAID IN TO ANOTHER KIDCARE PROGRAM BY ALLOWING THE TRANSITION WITHOUT A GAP IN COVERAGE -- too many children are impacted by this and they can't wait another year. There are several different ways to accomplish this, they just need to decide that they are going to do it. Express your disappointment that ONCE AGAIN, they are failing to fix the KidCare program. The money is there. They need to provide additional money if they are going to expand the program and they need to make the private insurance companies include autism and other disabilities at the same time they consider opening KidCare.
Senate President Ken Pruitt: 850-487-5229
Speaker Marco Rubio - 850-488-1450
Governor Crist: 850-488-4441 (ask for healthcare staff)
We need the calls to go today to try and get them to include in budget process......
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