State economists are expecting the Sunshine State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program will need millions more in extra funding over the next five years.
Florida KidCare, the umbrella brand for the four government-sponsored health insurance programs, provides coverage for Florida children from birth until age 18.
According to new figures from state economists, Florida KidCare, which relies on federal and state funding, will need an extra $81 million set aside in the next state budget.
By 2024, the annual cost of the program is expected to increase to the point that an additional $162 million in state funds will need to be pumped in.
State legislators have set aside funds to fully fund the program through the current fiscal year. However, a looming issue economists noted is that by September 2020 the higher federal matching amount that Florida receives for children’s health insurance is scheduled to end, leaving the burden on the state.
Compounding the stress on the program, enrollment is expected to grow from 252,000 in 2019 to 315,000 by 2021. The reason for the expected enrollment spike is because of a change that lowers the monthly premium paid by families who don’t qualify for subsidized coverage.
Back in July, the board of directors for the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, a nonprofit created to expand access to affordable health insurance for children, approved contracts for Aetna, Simply and Community Care Plan to provide subsidized Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and full-pay health insurance coverage through the Florida Healthy Kids plan.
“With these new contracts come exciting free benefits for our members, including transportation assistance, tobacco/vaping and substance use cessation programs, swim lessons and weight management tools, as well as 24-hour nurse and behavioral health lines, giving parents even more reasons to consider Florida Healthy Kids for their children’s insurance needs,” said Florida Healthy Kids Corporation Board Chair Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos. “I look forward to the next phase of this process, which includes communicating these beneficial changes to our current and prospective members.”
According to Florida Healthy Kids, the subsidized plan serves nearly 193,000 children, with members in the subsidized plan paying $15 or $20 per month based on household income.
The full-pay plan is either $215 per month per child for health-only coverage or $230 per month per child for health and dental coverage. The full-pay plan benefits will begin to match that of the subsidized plan starting in January of 2020. The enhancements include the elimination of medical and pharmacy deductibles, the elimination of coinsurance and the lowering of all copays.
“We continually strive to reach new heights in care, quality and customer service, and I’m confident today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to the children of Florida,” said Interim Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dykes at the time of the announcement. “Coupled with the changes we’ve achieved to make our full-pay plan more affordable, I am excited for the future of the Florida Healthy Kids program.”
Enrollment for Florida KidCare is open year-round at floridakidcare.org. The website offers an eligibility calculator that estimates the monthly payment based on the number of people in a household and annual income. Florida KidCare benefits include doctor visits, check-ups, immunizations, prescriptions, emergency care, surgeries, dental care and more.
Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.