Announces grant, partnerships to spread the word to eligible families
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2008) – Joined by representatives of the United Way, advocacy groups and children’s health care providers, Gov. Steve Beshear today officially kicked off a coordinated effort to enroll as many children as possible in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) by the end of Fiscal Year 2010.
Since changes to the plan were announced in September and the mail-in application became available online Nov. 1, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) KCHIP hotline has received a greatly increased number of calls, including almost twice as many calls coming into the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department alone compared to the same time period last year.
“During these extremely difficult economic times, we must not underestimate the value of preventive health care for our children,” said Gov. Beshear. “With families struggling now more than ever, we must make sure they get the assistance they need to provide their children with appropriate health care.”
At a rally in the Capitol Rotunda, Gov. Beshear was introduced by Dr. Mary Fallat of Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky’s only free-standing, full-service pediatric care facility providing health care to children without regard to their families’ ability to pay.
“Governor Steve Beshear is committed to providing affordable, accessible health care to all Kentuckians, especially our children,” said Dr. Fallat. “That is why he has a plan to get all eligible children enrolled in KCHIP. Governor Beshear has a vision for the betterment of Kentucky’s children and affordable health care and wellness are matters of utmost priority.”
As part of its mission to address the most urgent issues local communities face, the United Way of Kentucky will be a primary partner in the effort to get eligible children enrolled in KCHIP.
“The KCHIP program aligns with our mission uniquely and completely,” said Dana Mayton, board chair of the United Way of Kentucky. “United Ways work every day to mobilize the caring power of their communities and what better issue to mobilize around than helping those who are most vulnerable and least able to defend themselves—the state’s uninsured children.”
Gov. Beshear was also joined today by Debbie McGrath, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. Epilepsy is the leading neurological condition among children, with more than 27,000 children living with this disorder in Kentucky
“We estimate that more than 1,475 Kentucky children with epilepsy are eligible for KCHIP,” said McGrath. “So we are honored to join Governor Beshear in this effort to help improve their quality of life.”
The Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) also presented a $100,000 check today to Gov. Beshear to help offset the cost of training representatives of community agencies to assist people in applying for KCHIP.
“The Kentucky Primary Care Association’s mission is to increase access to comprehensive, community-oriented primary health care services for the underserved and strengthen the primary care safety net,” said Chris Keyser, chair of KCPA. “Providing these funds to ensure adequate training for KCHIP enrollment helps us serve that mission.”
The Beshear KCHIP Plan, announced in September and implemented on Nov. 1, aims to dramatically cut the number of children without health coverage by removing barriers to enrollment, retaining more children once they are enrolled and significantly increasing education and outreach regarding the program. KCHIP provides health insurance to children whose family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, about $42,400 a year for a family of four.