promote children's health coverage plan
Due to the current economic situation St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics are helping promote the Idaho Health Plan Coverage for Children, formerly known as the CHIP program. The program provides free or reduced medical care to children in income eligible families. The children must be under age 19, a U.S. citizen or legal resident and uninsured.
In March of each year the family income guidelines change. “We’re trying to let families know about the new income guidelines in case they now qualify. There are more families who may fall within the monthly income parameters,” said Jeanette Gorman, CVHC/SMHC Community Relations Coordinator. “Our hospitals are happy to help families who need information or help filling out the application.”
According to the guidelines for 2009, a youth under the age of 19 can qualify if his or her income is less than $1670 per month. A two person family can make up to $2,247 and a family of four can have a monthly income of $3400 and still qualify. A family of six can make up to $4553 per month. Income from step-parents, grandparents, custodians, and legal guardians does not count. Only parents’ income is figured.
The CHIP program provides low or no cost health coverage for doctor visits, prescriptions, vision screening, immunizations, dental benefits and other health needs for children. Children who qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program would most likely also qualify for the health coverage. Only parental income is counted in determining eligibility.
Another Medicaid program, the Children’s Health Access card, can provide up to $100 per child per month to help pay for an employer sponsored or individual health plan.
“Both our hospitals have financial counselors who are more than willing to answer questions or to help families with the application process,” said Gorman. “Parents have enough to worry about these days. Having their children covered with health insurance can take that particular worry away. When a child is covered it is so much easier to make health care decisions based on need, rather than on financial considerations.”
An application form or more information is available by calling the Idaho Careline, 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588 or visiting www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov . Information is also available at the local Idaho Department of Health and Welfare field offices.
The financial counselors at the business office in St Mary’s Hospital, 962-3251 or Clearwater Valley Hospital, 476-4555 can provide an income eligibility sheet and assist in the application process.