By Bob LaMendola
Florida Department of Health in Broward County
BROWARD COUNTY – Good news for thousands of immigrant families who have been unable to obtain low-cost Florida KidCare health insurance without a five-year wait.
The wait is ending.
In March 2016, Florida legislators eliminated a five-year waiting period that has long been required before the children of certain legal immigrant families could qualify for KidCare. Now, those families will be able to enroll their kids immediately, simply by showing they are Florida residents.
“We have 48,000 uninsured children in Broward County and thousands of them could benefit,” says Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (DOH-Broward), which enrolls children in KidCare. “This will be a great help to families who really need the coverage.”
The change starts on July 1, but DOH-Broward is enrolling families early. A special enrollment event for the public is set from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, June 24 at the Carl DeSantis Building at Nova Southeastern University in Davie (3301 College Ave.).
The new rules affect several categories of legal immigrants, including those holding green cards, says Rebecca Miele, Manager of KidCare Outreach at DOH-Broward. Even if a family is not sure whether the new rules apply to them, Miele urges them to call KidCare to find out.
Under the new system, more families will be eligible for Florida Medicaid, which is part of KidCare. If they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, they can apply for subsidized coverage in Healthy Kids, which also is part of KidCare. Healthy Kids insurance costs as little as $15 to $20 per month for an entire household of children.
Families who earn too much to receive the subsidized rate can still enroll in “full-pay” Healthy Kids coverage, which remains less costly than most insurance on the private market, Miele says.
State officials estimate that over 15,000 more families will become eligible for Medicaid and 17,000 more for Healthy Kids.
For more information call 954-467-8737.