The bill also tightens eligibility requirements and parents fear their kids could be booted from the program before the year is over.
Melissa Hyden is relieved to hear the Florida Legislature voted to provide Kidcare insurance to 90,000 children on the waiting list at least through July 1. Her son Desmond has a critical case of asthma.
“I'm glad that I'm going to get the coverage until July. At least I can get him in there and try to get what I can,” says Melissa.
But lawmakers also passed tighter requirements that will kick some kids off, depending on how much it cost their parents to buy health insurance from their employers.
The bill's supporters say they need to prevent families who can get private insurance from abusing the system.
“This bill honors the very purpose of this program, which is to provide care for children in need. Not all children, children in need,” says Rep. Jeff Kottkamp.
The bill also does not cover about 5,000 eligible children whose applications came in after January 30. Melissa fears her little boy will end up getting kicked off Kidcare because her employer does offer insurance, even though she can't afford the $360-a-month cost.
She worries what might happen to Desmond when his Kidcare runs out.
“I can't afford to give him insurance. I can't do it by myself and it scares me to death every day,” says Melissa.
Still, lawmakers congratulate themselves for buying 90,000 children insurance and their parents peace of mind, at least until summer.
The new Kidcare bill eliminates a waiting list and instead provides two enrollment periods a year, one in September and one in January.
The governor is expected to sign the Kidcare bill into law within days.