Florida KidCare enrollment breaks even, many kids still uninsured

Families line up at a Coalition-sponsored Florida KidCare enrollment event in March 2011.

Florida KidCare has been in the news lately — not for enrolling record numbers of children during this economic downturn but for breaking even on children added to the state children’s health insurance program.

For the 2010-11 fiscal year that runs from July to June, the program broke even. Looking at more recent data, the program had 278,071 children enrolled as of September 1, 2011, down from 280,000 children in September 2010.

Access to health insurance and care is important to ensuring our kids are healthy. It helps them succeed in school and stay strong.

Florida has the second highest rate of uninsured children in the country — only falling second to Texas. Statewide estimates based on income guidelines show that more 700,000 children are potentially eligible for the subsidized health insurance coverage that KidCare offers.

While many of the KidCare enrollees move into Medicaid each month, the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, which administers the program, points to a new federal rule that requires parents to provide proof they are United States citizens before children can be covered as the reason why about 10,000 kids dropped off rolls.

In Northeast Florida, despite increased outreach efforts made avaible through funding from Healthy Kids and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville, enrollment in September 2011 was 12,752, down 100 kids from a year ago.