A Senate health-care panel on Tuesday agreed to eliminate a $1 million lifetime benefits cap for children enrolled in the Florida Healthy Kids program.
Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, the bill (SB 348) was unanimously approved by the Senate Health Policy Committee. It needs approval from the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee and the Appropriations Committee before it can be considered by the full Senate during the legislative session that begins Jan. 14.
According to a staff analysis of the bill, 12 children have been removed from the Florida Healthy Kids program because of the cap from 2015 to 2019.
The program is one component of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which in Florida is known as Florida KidCare. The KidCare program offers insurance to children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Under KidCare, the state charges families for coverage, with premiums based on a sliding scale. The federal government notified the state in November 2018 that the $1 million benefits cap ran afoul of federal regulations. Bean’s bill is estimated to have a $1.2 million impact in the upcoming state fiscal year, of which $304,401 would be paid by the state.
That impact is expected to increase to $1.4 million in fiscal year 2021-2022, of which $379,255 would be paid by the state. An identical bill (HB 6031) has been filed in the state House but has not been heard in committees.