Florida’s KidCare insurance program for low-income children is kicking off an open enrollment period for 30 days beginning in January. It’s the first chance new families have had to get into the program in a year and a half.
But KidCare has been buried in paperwork for months, and some families aren’t sure the program is ready to take on even more.
Stacy Justiss sent in the paperwork to renew her children’s KidCare insurance, but she keeps getting letters saying they’ve been cancelled. Each time she called, KidCare said her children are covered, but it hasn’t eased her mind.
“It puts you in a panic every time because a horror story that they’re not going to have insurance in a couple of days and you’ve got these letters, all I’ve got are these letters and the word of someone on the phone.”
When 55,000 children failed to re-enroll in KidCare this fall, lawmakers realized they’d created a paperwork nightmare and dropped the requirements to just one document to verify income.
But KidCare is still sorting through renewal forms. Now, KidCare is announcing an enrollment period for new families during the month of January.
Executive Director Rose Naff expects 100,000 applications. We asked her if she’ll be ready given the past problems with red tape.
“We are looking forward to a deluge of applications. We have 20 times the capacity for processing that we had a year ago, and we’ve doubled the number of operators who can take customer service and answer questions about the program.
Stacy Justiss hopes she’s right.
“I love the program. The program’s wonderful for my kids. It’s just a very confusing program and process that we’ve had to navigate.”
But KidCare promises it will continue providing services to the hundreds of thousands of children already enrolled, and be ready to insure more than 70,000 new kids in January.
All families whose children do not have insurance are eligible for the KidCare program. A family of four whose income is $37,000 a year or less would only pay $15 to $20 a month per child.
You can download an application by logging on to: www.healthykids.org/application starting Friday, or you can call 1-888-540-KIDS to receive an application in the mail.
Your application MUST be returned by January 30.