Healthy Families Program May Close Doors

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The situation for the poor children's health insurance program coverage in California is bleak. More than 162,000 eligible children at risk of falling through safety net and losing hope of needed health insurance coverage as the state freezes Healthy Families program.

During this period of severe economic hardship for California's working families, a program that has served as the health care life-line for more than 900,000 California children risks seeing its doors close to eligible children – for the first time in its more than 10-year history. Truly, this could not come at a worse time. Because of the current economic crisis, never before has the Healthy Families Program been more needed; enrollment into the low-cost program is at an all-time high, reaching a record average of 27,125 children per month.

Required to operate within financial means, staff at the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB) – the agency that oversees the Healthy Families Program – recommend wait-listing all children who apply for Healthy Families coverage. This could lead to more than 162,000 eligible children being denied needed health coverage by June 30, 2009. MRMIB will present the proposed policy to institute a waitlist in the program and will hear public comments on the issue during a board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 19, 2008. The Board will then vote to either enact or reject the proposal on December 17th. Unless a solution is found, doors will close on December 18, 2008.

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Read our full press release on California freezing Healthy Families children's health insurance program.

The Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times, Fresno Bee, and San Jose Mercury News have all picked up the story.

We now call on the Governor and Legislature to correct this short-sighted cut to Healthy Families, and to fill the $17.2 million funding gap. Otherwise, MRMIB will have no choice but to close its doors beginning December 18, 2008. Read MRMIB's memo, which states that more than 162,000 eligible children could be denied access to Healthy Families health coverage by June 30, 2008, unless the program receives the funding needed to enroll eligible children.

Make Your Voice Heard! Call your legislator and the Governor and tell her/him that: Now, more than ever, California's families rely on the Healthy Families Program. Please do all that you can to ensure that the program is fully funded so that it can continue to serve your constituent children. Go even further, look up county-by-county enrollment records and tell the person who handles health issues how many kids currently benefit from Healthy Families coverage in her/his county.

We will keep you up-to-date on policy decisions that impact children's health in California. For more information, please contact Tim Morrison at [email protected] or 510-763-2444 x122.

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