With the approaching implementation of the Affordable Care Act, states across the country are addressing the need to provide access to quality health care. While changes are coming, it’s important to keep in mind that the State of Florida’s trusted child health insurance program, Florida KidCare, already puts high-quality, low-cost health insurance within the reach of every child.
In Florida, almost one in eight children is uninsured and thousands more are under-insured. When so much else seems to be a more pressing need, parents often believe that health insurance is simply too costly – that they can’t justify paying premiums every month hinged on the mere chance that their child will somehow get hurt.
What these parents don’t realize is that the true value of health insurance stretches far beyond simply covering the cost of care for injuries. Not only are children who lack health insurance five times more likely to suffer from unmet medical needs, they are also much less likely to receive routine preventive measures like checkups, dental cleanings and shots.
The medical expenses of uninsured children in Florida cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, but that’s far from the only cost. Children who lack health insurance tend to underperform in the classroom and experience more absences due to illness.
A sick child who has to stay home from school needs a parent to be there with them – and when that parent has to take off from work, the costs of a sick kid skyrocket.
Ultimately, the peace of mind and convenience offered by health insurance are well worth the cost. If you don’t already have health insurance for your children, the early part of the school year is the perfect time to enroll them in Florida KidCare's low-cost or no-cost, high-quality health insurance.
Many families pay only $15 or $20 a month, and most pay nothing at all for excellent coverage. Even if a family doesn’t qualify for subsidized coverage, the program offers affordable full-pay options that assure high-quality medical care.
I am not only a Florida KidCare program administrator, I am also a parent – and I vividly remember that the further we got into each school year, the crazier life became. That’s why enrolling your kids now will save you time and money.
Florida KidCare covers necessary school-mandated procedures like immunizations and sports physicals, in addition to the everyday coverage it offers for well-child visits, hospital stays, dental coverage, vision services, prescriptions, mental health service and much more. If you need help finding what coverage is right for you, visit www.FloridaKidCare.org or download the interactive smartphone app called “FL KidCare.”
If your children do already have health insurance, it’s a good idea to make sure you are taking advantage of all the preventive measures offered. These frequent visits provide the opportunity to identify conditions early on and get your children in the helpful habit of regularly going to the doctor’s office.
Health insurance gives you the opportunity to provide a brighter future and smile for your children. Regular doctor and dental visits, whether for routine checkups or more serious concerns, create a smart, healthy pattern for your children and show them first-hand the importance of protecting their bodies and being responsible about their overall and oral health.
Together, we can continue to echo the phrase that ‘Kids Oughta Be Covered’ and work collaboratively to ensure that our state’s most precious residents and future champions are at their best.
--Rich Robleto is executive director of the Florida Healthy Kids Corp., a Florida KidCare partner.