Families Scramble to Complete KidCare Renewal Forms Before Deadline

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Nearly 50,000 families could lose their children’s state-sponsored health insurance by next Monday because their paperwork didn’t get in on time.

Changes made by the Florida Legislature to the KidCare program required every family to send in new documents to prove their eligibility. The changes are creating a nightmare of red tape for some families, and their kids may end up paying the price.

Leslie Conway is one of 49,000 parents who got a letter saying her kids will lose their healthcare because she didn’t provide the necessary paperwork. The problem is, she sent the forms in months ago.

“I was like, oh my gosh, frantically searching through papers on my desk, looking for receipts, looking for copies of my application.”

While many parents did drop the ball, at least part of the problem may be the blizzard of new documents required by lawmakers to prove eligibility for the KidCare program.

KidCare administrator Rose Naff admits she’s buried in an avalanche of forms but working through it.

“What do you tell those folks who believe they sent in their paperwork and now are faced with cancellation? If they sent in their paperwork, we’re working through it. We are receiving, I think you may have heard we received 33 buckets of mail on Monday. We are acknowledging every document that we get. It takes us two business days to open everything, account for it and get a letter out acknowledging that we got it.”

In Wednesday’s mail at KidCare, seven boxes of renewal forms from parents trying to beat the Monday deadline. More than six thousand renewals have come in this week.

Tampa Senator Les Miller says lawmakers’ efforts to improve KidCare created a bureaucratic nightmare.

“We’re talking about people having problems getting the paperwork in on time, being dropped from the rolls on Monday because of circumstances beyond their control, or just too much paperwork for them to get it together. We need to do something.”

Senator Miller requested lawmakers be allowed to address KidCare problems during the special legislative session this month. If his request is denied, he’s promising to bring the issue up again in the spring.

KidCare promises you will receive a letter in the mail once your application is processed to let you know your children’s coverage will continue. If you have not received the letter yet, you can send in a second copy of your forms just to make sure.

KidCare also added an additional 160 phone lines to their hotline Wednesday to help with the deluge of calls from parents scrambling to make the deadline. The KidCare hotline is 888-540-5437.

You can also download the forms by logging onto www.floridakidcare.org and clicking on “Project Pathfinder” on the left.