Resources for Kentucky’s uninsured children will become more accessible and less restricted beginning Nov. 1, according to an announcement made Wednesday by Gov. Steve Beshear.

The Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) will receive several amendments with a goal of having 35,000 children ensured by 2010.

KCHIP provides health insurance to children whose family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $42,400 a year (or $3,534 monthly) for a family of four.

The two biggest problems with the current systems are getting the children enrolled in the program and keeping them enrolled, according to Jill Midkiff, of the governor’s communications office in Frankfort.

“That’s why the governor has eliminated a significant barrier to enrolling, the previously required face-to-face interview, and has developed a targeted outreach plan to find eligible children. For families already in the program who must re-certify every year, he has created a grace period that will give them more time to get in the required re-certification documents. In addition, KCHIP employees will call them to remind them they need to send in their forms.”

Not all uninsured children meet Medicaid requirements, which is where KCHIP intervenes, according to Christie Green, spokesperson for Madison County Health Department.

“There are a number of children (in the county) who fall into the uninsured category,” she said. “KCHIP bridges the gap in an area where children and families fall through the cracks.”

By pushing for an amended KCHIP, Beshear intends to cut the amount of children without health coverage by removing barriers in enrolling, retaining more children once they are enrolled and significantly increasing education and outreach about the program.

“It is shameful and shortsighted that we are not providing children with the health care they need and deserve,” Beshear said. “The steps we are taking today to get more eligible children enrolled in the

Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program are fiscally responsible, economically smart and, quite, simply, the right thing to do.”

Beshear’s plan would eliminate the requirement of a face-to-face interview allowing applicants to mail in applications, download, print and complete application from the governor’s Web site.

The denial process also would be amended to provide a new 30-day grace period to provide additional information for denied applications and follow up by phone or mail with applicants who fail to supply requested information.

More outreach efforts will be made to contact families participating in the food stamp program, the free and reduced meal program and other agency programs.

Families that have dis-enrolled within the past year also will be contacted and encouraged to learn more information about the governor’s amended plan.

Parents of all Kentucky newborns will be given the information, as well as parents with children beginning a new school year.

The estimated cost of Beshear’s new plan includes $6.1 million in state funding; $16.7 million in federal funding from the 2009 fiscal year; and $25 million and $64.6 million in state and federal funding, respectively, from the 2010 fiscal year.

Visit the Web site for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services at chfs.ky.gov/dms/KCHIP for more information about enrolling in the KCHIP program.



Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 234.

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