Letter to the editor: Concern about state funding of KidsCare

I am a long-time resident of our small town and social work student at Northern Arizona University. I have started to study families who need help navigating our complex health care system.

There is a situation that is happening to several vulnerable, middle to low income families in our area that affects their children’s health. This situation is regarding what happens when parents in the area obtain gainful employment but make too much money qualify for AHCCCS but not enough money to be able to afford their employer provided healthcare or healthcare from the Federal Marketplace. Even though there are tax credits that can help pay the premiums for healthcare through the health care containment system, they cannot afford the high deductibles and co-pays associated with those plans. This problem causes many children to go without healthcare unless the illness or injury requires a costly emergency room visit, a visit that may have been prevented if the children had access to regular healthcare.

There is a solution to this issue, the KidsCare program that can be applied for through the DES office or through a community assister can get these children access to Healthcare for a low monthly premium and minimal co-pays. I will spend a little time explaining the process and leave some phone numbers that can help people in out area access this Valuable resource.

KidsCare in Arizona has the same benefits as other Medicaid benefits including healthcare and dental care, as well as behavioral health. The only difference is that there is a small premium that must be paid every month, the maximum being 60 dollars, which is much more affordable than other plans. KidsCare allows the parents to pay a minimal premium for healthcare for their children and forgo the high cost of insuring their entire family through their employer provided health plan. The KidsCare policy benefits children under the age of 19, who are not eligible for Medicaid through AHCCCS.

Unfortunately, KidsCare relies on the state legislature to fund the program and Arizona currently has a law, passed in 2017 that says the state would no longer fund KidsCare unless the federal government provided all funds for the program. This federal funding is supposed to drop down to 90.5 percent in September and Governor Doug Ducey is asking that the legislature repeal the 2017 law. If the law is still in place in September, the result could be thousands of children no longer receiving health coverage through the Kids Care program.

April King Williams resident

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