Tuesday November 10, 2009
Governor Steve Beshear joined Congressman John Yarmuth and Mayor Jerry Abramson today to announce that new federal stimulus money will help enroll more children in Jefferson County in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP). One year ago, Gov. Beshear launched a plan to enroll 35,000 KCHIP-eligible children by summer 2010 – a goal the state expects to meet by the end of 2009, six months ahead of schedule.
“By streamlining our enrollment process and ramping up our outreach efforts, we have reached thousands of families who could benefit from this program. I am so pleased that we are significantly ahead of schedule in our goal to enroll KCHIP or Medicaid program-eligible children,” said Gov. Beshear. “Meeting our goal earlier than anticipated also shows that our sagging economy is a tremendous burden to our families. We are clearly making a difference in easing the difficulty these tough economic conditions have put on families.”
A $250,000 federal grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will support a new program in Louisville called “Through Any Door” that will ease the enrollment process for KCHIP even more. Now, when families apply for assistance programs like food stamps or low income home energy assistance, applications will automatically be screened for eligibility in KCHIP and Medicaid.
“Expanding access to health coverage is critical to our economic recovery, which is why nearly $1 billion in Recovery Act funds have already been committed to Kentucky’s Medicaid and KCHIP programs,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “Under Governor Beshear’s leadership, these new federal funds are helping to increase the number of Kentucky children who have access to the health care they need.”
The goal of the Beshear Plan is to dramatically cut the number of children without health coverage by removing barriers to KCHIP and Medicaid enrollment. Current estimates are that approximately 32,000 additional children have been enrolled in the programs since the launch of the initiative -- an average of more than 2,600 children per month. (Official numbers for October will be available in mid-November.)
“These are impressive numbers and we have made great progress, but families in our hometown continue to struggle,” said Abramson. “This new enrollment process will certainly provide help for families trying to cover basic needs for their children.”
“We have been pleased to assist the Governor in this important initiative,” said Larry N. Cook, MD, Chairman and CEO of Passport Health Plan and Executive Vice President of Health Affairs for the University of Louisville. “Children who are covered by Medicaid and KCHIP are more likely to access primary care and preventive services, and this impacts the entire community.”
Gov. Beshear’s statewide initiative began in November 2008 with a simplified mail-in application, available online, and targeted outreach efforts. Efforts have included a focus on training community partners to assist with completion of applications; availability of enrollment materials at local health departments, Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) offices and Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSC); and outreach through health care providers, community action agencies, day care centers, faith-based organizations and many others.
“Identifying and enrolling these children in KCHIP and Medicaid is not an easy process, and I’m proud of the collaboration and hard work by our staff and community partners who have helped us in our outreach efforts. As a result, we are well on our way to our goal, but more importantly, Kentucky families are getting much-needed relief,” said CHFS Secretary Janie Miller.
The KCHIP program provides health insurance to children whose family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, about $44,100 a year for a family of four. More details of the Beshear Plan and enrollment information are available at http://kidshealth.ky.gov.