Arizona’s KidsCare medical insurance plan sees large enrollment decline « Health Insurance Advisory

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Arizona’s KidsCare medical insurance plan sees large enrollment decline

Author: Pete S - Sr. Staff Writer | Sep 04 2011 | Arizona

Since its peak in May 2008 of 66,317 enrollees, Arizona”s medical insurance plan for children, called KidsCare, has seen the lowest level enrollment since 1999. Currently, only 16,662 children are enrolled in Arizona’s state-federal health insurance program. KidsCare is the state’s version of the federally sponsored Children’s Health Insurance Program and covers children whose family income is between one and two times the poverty level, currently $22,350 per year for a family of four. Below that level, a family qualifies for Medicaid, another state-federal health insurance program.

Although demand for the medical insurance plan is high, more than 100,000 children were on the waiting list for KidsCare in July. When the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System froze enrollment in KidsCare earlier this year due to lack of funds, more than half of the decline in KidsCare has come since Jan. 1, 2010. State lawmakers have repeatedly cut funding for KidsCare in recent years, from more than $100 million in fiscal 2009 to $36 million this year, fiscal 2012. Because of the enrollment freeze, a state official said there are “sufficient appropriations to meet the needs of the current enrollees.”

The legislature tried to eliminate KidsCare altogether in March 2010, but the new healthcare law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), blocked the move because PPACA requires all states to maintain their child healthcare services.  The enrollment freeze, however, was already in place in Arizona, the only state that has such a limit.

The freeze raised concerns at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about Arizona’s ability to retain children in the program. Since the freeze was enacted, nearly 30,000 children have dropped from the program.

If you are searching for medical insurance options in Arizona, including KidsCare and individual medical insurance plans, visit healthinsuranceadvisory.org.  We can help you find and secure an affordable medical insurance plan in Arizona.

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