Commencement opens door to new lives for grads
Starting July 1, uninsured children in Colorado can apply for free insurance through the Child Health Plan Plus program.The Child Health Plan Plus program is available to uninsured pregnant women and Colorado children who qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance. The program covers emergencies, doctors’ appointments, dental and medical. Children and pregnant families of two earning up to $23,107 and families of four earning up to $34,872 a year may be eligible for the program.
The program isn’t new but, because of state budget cuts, it had frozen enrollment since November.The program helps 43,000 Coloradans. As of May, only half of the 86,124 children eligible for the program were enrolled.During the freeze, average monthly enrollment decreased because parents forgot to re-enroll children. Families waiting to enroll had to find alternative insurance or remain uninsured, Lori Casillas, Covering Kids and Families project director, said.”I believe this is the reason numbers went down,” Casillas said. “Parents expect us to re-enroll their kids. They don’t understand this is not a renewal program.”Kids stay in the program until they are 18 or until their parents are insured.
Many parents are offered family health insurance through their jobs but can’t afford to pay for it, Janice Caro of the Garfield County program said.”From what I see, they don’t understand the process of having insurance,” Caro said. “They don’t want to pay for something they don’t use all of the time.”Casillas doesn’t know how many families in Garfield County use the program because statistics are taken according to region, not county.According to a regional survey taken in 2002, about 14 percent of people in the program live in northwestern Colorado.
Lifting the freeze should allow thousands of uninsured kids to enroll in the program, according to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. For more information call Mountain Family Health Center at 945-2840.Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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