FOR GENERAL RELEASE:
June 30, 2005
Santa Clara Family Health Plan
Phone: 408.874.1842; Cell: 510.295.8345
$1.5 MILLION FROM FIRST 5 SANTA CLARA COUNTY CUTS HEALTHY KIDS PROGRAM WAITING LIST BY 55%
An estimated 1,000 uninsured children in Santa Clara County will soon get health insurance, thanks to a $1.5 million increase in funding from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County.
Healthy Kids, a locally funded insurance plan that is administered by Santa Clara Family Health Plan (SCFHP), currently covers 12,600 children who do not qualify for public insurance programs––and thanks to FIRST 5, children who had been on a program waiting list for as long as eight months will now get the medical care they need.
“This is a great day for the children of Santa Clara County,” said Leona M. Butler, CEO of SCFHP. “The generosity of FIRST 5 means that we are one giant step closer to getting universal coverage for all families in our community.”
FIRST 5, the agency which disburses Proposition 10 funds for early childhood development programs in Santa Clara County, currently contributes $3 million a year to Healthy Kids, to provide coverage for children from birth through age 5. Because these children, on average, generate higher medical costs than older children, FIRST 5 and SCFHP have negotiated a plan under which FIRST 5 will pay a higher monthly payment for members in this younger, more expensive age group.
This freed up funds for SCFHP to enroll more children in the 6-18 age group, 1,850 of whom are on a Healthy Kids waiting list. Children will be enrolled in the program based on their length of stay on the waiting list. A total of 518 new members will join the program July 1, with more enrolling as their eligibility is confirmed by SCFHP.
Said Fred Ferrer, Chairman of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County’s Board of Directors: “FIRST 5 places a high value on a child continuing to receive health care coverage once they turn six. Our increased financial commitment for the premium costs for the birth through 5 years olds will help eliminate the wait list for health insurance for the older children. Being healthy is a key factor for all children’s growth and development as it increases their potential for success in school and in life.”
FIRST 5 Santa Clara County was formed in 1998 when state voters approved Proposition 10. Prop. 10 established a tax on tobacco products, with the funds dedicated to early childhood development programs.
FIRST 5 utilizes these funds to promote, support and improve early childhood development for children prenatal through age five and their families. Quality health care is one of FIRST 5’s key priorities.
Healthy Kids––the first program of its kind in the nation––was created by a public-private partnership, which included SCFHP. It is entirely locally funded. In addition to FIRST 5, the plan is supported by the City of San Jose; Santa Clara County; foundations; and donations from businesses and individuals. Enrollment in Healthy Kids is limited by fundraising totals. SCFHP oversees fundraising through the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation.
Healthy Kids, launched in 2001, covers children who do not qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, California’s two main public insurance programs, because of family income limits or undocumented immigration status.
Healthy Kids provides full medical, dental and vision coverage to children from birth to age 19; cost is $4 to $6 a month per child, with a maximum of $18 per family. Healthy Kids covers children in families that earn up to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $58,050 for a family of four.
Healthy Kids is a trendsetter. Nine other California counties have implemented similar insurance programs and 18 others have projects in development. Altogether, these programs cover more than 71,000 previously uninsured children. In addition, a bill pending in the state Legislature would implement the Healthy Kids program statewide.
An analysis earlier this year of Healthy Kids, underwritten by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a major program funder, found that access and utilization of health care services by new program members increased dramatically in their first six months of coverage.