Health insurance program aimed at children and pregnant mothers
CHICAGO ‑‑ Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation expanding the KidCare and FamilyCare health insurance programs, providing comprehensive health care coverage for 20,000 additional children and 65,000 working parents in the first year and a total of 300,000 parents over three years.
“We have thousands of working families and children who don’t have decent healthcare. Often times, their only option is to go to the emergency room when they need help. That’s not acceptable,” Blagojevich said. “By signing the FamilyCare and KidCare bills into law, we are providing health care coverage in current year for 20,000 more children and 65,000 more working parents. Over the next three years, a total of 300,000 parents will receive health care.”
The governor appeared at a Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago today along with Director of Public Aid Barry S. Maram to highlight new legislation sponsored by state Rep. Sandra Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn, and state Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago. This legislation will enable 65,000 working parents and 20,000 children to now receive health insurance under the FamilyCare and KidCare programs.
The legislation immediately raises the eligibility level for the department’s KidCare program from 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 200 percent of FPL for the KidCare program. Currently, a family of three earning more than $28, 236 cannot qualify for the KidCare program. This bill will raise the eligibility to families earning up to $30,516. As a result, the state will be able to cover 20,000 more children.
The bill also expands the FamilyCare program ‑ targeted at pregnant mothers and parents of KidCare eligible children – by raising the eligibility level from 49 percent of the FPL. Right now, to qualify for FamilyCare, a family of our can earn no more than $750 per month. With this expansion, the income eligibility level will be increased to $1,380 per month. Over three years, 300,000 more working parents will receive health care coverage.
In the new fiscal year, the expansion of KidCare will cost $3.8 million and FamilyCare will cost $22 million in state funds. The state will receive 65 cents for every dollar invested in this program from the federal government. The FamilyCare expansion will cost $63 million a year and will also receive a federal match of 65 percent.
The bill signing signals a more aggressive attitude by the state in going after federal health care funding. It also delivers on campaign promises made by the governor and a pledge in his State of the State address to expand eligibility for KidCare to 200 percent of the FPL and provide coverage for 300,000 parents with the FamilyCare program.
“Because of the leadership of Governor Blagojevich, Illinois was one of only two states in the nation that not only avoided cuts in Medicaid, but actually expanded coverage,” said Maram. “The expansion of KidCare and FamilyCare demonstrates in very concrete terms that the Governor’s commitment to health care and reducing the rolls of the uninsured goes far beyond rhetoric. It is reality.”
KidCare and FamilyCare pay for doctor visits, hospital care, emergency services, specialty medical services, prescription drugs, immunizations, substance abuse services, dental and eye care and other services.
FamilyCare is open to adults who meet the income requirement and are either parents or caretakers of children enrolled in KidCare, which is known formally by the federal government as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
For families that have some health insurance, the Department of Public Aid offers the KidCare Rebate, Share and Premium programs. KidCare Rebate helps covers health insurance premiums; KidCare Share and Premium cover services that a health insurance plan may not cover.
The Department of Public Aid provides comprehensive health insurance coverage to over 1.7 million Illinoisans, including one million children.
Under prior administrations, the state lost out on the chance to claim $253 in federal SCHIP money because it failed to aggressively expand the KidCare program.