More Healthcare Coverage Options for Kids

a doctor talking to a girl and her mother - Rexburg Medical Center and Wellness Center Services

*Written in collaboration with IPCA and Grand Peaks Medical and Dental*

Connecting Kids to Coverage

Thousands of children in Idaho may be eligible for health insurance

BOISE, ID– Thousands of Idaho children could be going without critical prescriptions or life-saving surgeries simply because their parents don’t have health insurance.

Many of those children were removed from federal health insurance coverage over the last few years due to eligibility reporting requirements for the state of Idaho. Those issues between the state and the United States government have been resolved.

Low to moderate-income families without health insurance may be eligible for federal programs once again.

“Insurance coverage for kids is critical,” said Yvonne Ketchum-Ward, CEO, Idaho Primary Care Association. “Without it, children in Idaho will suffer unnecessarily and be unable to get the care they need to become healthy adults.”

The Idaho Primary Care Association received a $1 million grant to help enroll thousands of children in health insurance plans. The money will be distributed to 15 community health centers across the state to bolster their enrollment efforts over the next three years.

Enrolling those families and children is part of a new “Connecting Kids to Coverage” project.

The federal grant is intended to help an estimated 29,000 children in Idaho gain coverage, and keep eligible families in coverage. The state currently ranks 40th in the nation for the percentage of children without health insurance. Federal policy changes caused Idaho to have the steepest decline (11%) in the nation for children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid, according to a recent study released by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and Idaho Voices for Children.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) hope to increase enrollment in CHIP/Medicaid. Started in 1997, CHIP provides comprehensive healthcare coverage to children under age 19 from low to moderate-income families.

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program is an important source of healthcare coverage for working families,” said Lori Sessions, CEO, Grand Peaks Medical and Dental. “Kids who have access to doctor visits, dental care, immunizations, well-child visits, and prescriptions are more likely to have good health and do better in school, forming a strong foundation for future success. If your children don’t have insurance, please call us to see if we can help get them enrolled in health coverage. ” Grand Peaks Medical and Dental is one of the participating Community Health Centers in Idaho that are involved in Connecting Kids to Coverage.  Call (208)624-8159 or (208) 624-8018 for more information about options and how to enroll.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage project will engage more than 70 Outreach and Enrollment Counselors at health centers throughout Idaho.  These Enrollment Counselors, will be assisting families with application assistance for CHIP healthcare coverage.  Grand Peaks Medical and Dental’s Lead Enrollment Counselor, Becky Crapo says “It is a unique opportunity for to provide a service to the community with no cost to the family, our assistance is totally free.” “There are so many families in the area who will benefit from applying for this program and can get the routine and preventative care their children need,” says Crapo.

Health Centers won’t be doing it alone. The Idaho Foodbank, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and Your Health Idaho will provide support for the project to engage and assist parents in urban and rural areas.

“CHIP has consistently had bipartisan support from lawmakers. Since 1997, the program has provided affordable health insurance for kids in modest-income families. It’s an effective federal-state partnership that provides essential health coverage for kids that is a critical part of the state’s healthcare system and an investment in families and our state’s future,” said Lori Sessions, CEO, Grand Peaks Medical and Dental. Grand Peaks is also a participating community health center involved in “Connecting Kids to Coverage” project.

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Idaho Primary Care Association (IPCA) has been the leading state advocate for community-based healthcare programs since 1982. The association plays a vital role in educating federal and state policymakers about issues relating to healthcare and the role of community health centers. IPCA provides training and technical assistance to Idaho’s health centers in the areas of health center operations, quality improvement, outreach and enrollment, workforce development, and network management.

 Idaho’s Community Health Centers are locally operated health systems offering affordable care to improve the wellness of individuals and communities. In 2018 health centers:

  • Provided integrated medical, dental, behavioral health & pharmacy services
  • Served 198,332 patients – or 1 in 9 Idahoans
  • Had a statewide presence of 91 clinic sites in 52 communities
  • Operated more than 30 school-based clinics