There is only a little over a week left for families to sign up for Florida’s KidCare program. KidCare provides health insurance for low-income children, and applications are pouring in by the thousands.
As the final week approaches for families to apply for KidCare, mail sorters are in a frenzy to process applications. Even Florida Health Secretary John Agwunobi is pitching in. He wants the photo op to send a message to low-income families.
Dr. John Agwunobi says, “To try and make them understand that this is a process that’s labor-intensive, to urge them to be patient and to urge people to apply for Florida KidCare.”
The program has been under fire from parents who felt lost in a sea of paperwork when new rules took effect last year. We showed one e-mail from frustrated mom Michelle Demull of Largo to Executive Director Rose Naff. Naff says she knows this has been a year of adjustment for KidCare families, but she also wants parents to know she’s added staff and phone lines. Families now only need one form to prove their income, and will only have to renew once a year instead of twice.
Rose says, “Any change going through it the first time is always going to be the roughest, but families, now when they apply, have to produce their documents and they’re going to be familiar with what the requirements are when it comes around to renewal. In the meantime, the race is on to get as many new children covered as possible.”
More than 50,000 applications have already come in, but KidCare needs to receive about 100,000 by the end of the month to get enough eligible children to fill all the open slots.
KidCare hopes to provide health coverage to more than 70,000 additional kids by next month, and every so often, the agency even gets a thank you from a grateful parent.
Some suggest KidCare considers raising the premiums parents pay as a way to help reduce costs, but Florida Health Secretary John Agwunobi says families in the program are already struggling to make ends meet.