Health Insurance Cut for Nearly 10,000 Working Arizonans
By September 30, 2009, nearly 10,000 working parents in Arizona will lose their health insurance coverage through no fault of their own. Because of state budget cuts, participants in the KidsCare Parents insurance program will soon be without insurance.
Arizona lawmakers explain that the cut is necessary to help close a $1.6 billion deficit in the 2009-2010 budget.
The KidsCare Parents program is a state-federal partnership operated by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). The program is viewed as an affordable health insurance plan for working parents who cannot otherwise get coverage or afford the premiums. Most work for businesses that do not provide employee health insurance, or they have preexisting conditions that disqualify them for coverage.
Until now, parents who participated in the program paid a subsidized premium of up to one hundred dollars per month for their health insurance, depending on their income, with the federal government picking up 75 percent of the cost and the state assuming the rest. The total cost of the program to Arizona is about seven million dollars.
Although elimination of the KidsCare Parents benefit does not affect the children of these parents, who are covered under the KidsCare program, it leaves working parents worried about how they will pay for health care if they need it. Some will likely access emergency room services and be unable to pay their bills. Parents can also seek health care at community health centers, although these facilities are experiencing dramatic cuts in state funding as well.
The sudden elimination of health insurance coverage for nearly 10,000 working parents in Arizona is just one more blow to an already financially stressed population. For now, it is uncertain whether the KidsCare Parents program will be reinstated in the future. Working parents in Arizona who have been part of the KidsCare Parents program can get additional information about elimination of their health insurance on the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System website at http://www.azahcccs.gov/ shared/Downloads/News/ HealthInsurance4Parents.pdf
Arizona Daily Star, Sept. 2, 2009
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System website
Public News Service, Arizona, Sept. 2, 2009