CHICAGO – Governor George H. Ryan and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has approved the Governor’s innovative FamilyCare program, allowing Illinois to extend medical coverage to the parents and caretakers of children in the state’s successful KidCare program.
FamilyCare, which is scheduled to begin in October, will provide medical coverage to parents with annual incomes at or below 49 percent of the federal poverty level, or a monthly income of about $739 for a family of four.
“I applaud President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson for helping Illinois provide medical coverage to nearly 30,000 low-income parents and others caring for children enrolled in the KidCare program,” Governor Ryan said. “We have successfully reduced the number of uninsured children in Illinois. By expanding the program to include parents, we expect to improve the health of families and encourage the enrollment of additional children with their parents.”
The FamilyCare program will be funded in fiscal year 2003 with federal matching funds allotted to the state through KidCare, Illinois’ name for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
The FamilyCare program will be funded by accessing federal matching funds on state insurance programs that were previously unmatched by the federal government. These programs include the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (I-CHIP) and a program serving those with hemophilia. Through the remainder of state fiscal year 2003, the state expects to claim federal SCHIP funds totaling $10 million for the FamilyCare program.
“This innovative approach to funding the FamilyCare program is allowing Illinois to begin providing medical coverage to these families despite the current state budget situation,” Governor Ryan said. “Working as partners with the federal government, we will provide access to health benefits to more low-income families who are working to be self-sufficient.”
At Governor Ryan’s direction and in response to House Resolution 427, the Illinois Department of Public Aid provided a FamilyCare concept paper and began discussions with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in November 2001. In February, the department submitted its formal waiver request to enable the state to expand its KidCare insurance program to include adults.
More than 185,000 children and pregnant women are enrolled in the KidCare program this month. The new FamilyCare program will be structured similarly to KidCare. Parents and children will see the same providers when possible and receive benefits on the same medical card. Both programs pay for a wide range of medical services, including physician visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs and eyeglasses.
“We know that children are more likely to get the medical care they need, especially preventive care such as check-ups and immunizations, when their parents also have medical coverage,” Governor Ryan said.
Enrollment in FamilyCare will begin in October. For more information, contact the state’s KidCare hotline: 1-866-4-OUR-KIDS (1-866-468-7543) (TTY: 1-877-204-1012).