NATIONAL HEALTH REFORM:
A Huge Win for Children!
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection
and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This is a huge win for California children and will
help improve access to quality, affordable coverage
for the 1.5 million uninsured children in California.
Right now, with many parents losing jobs and their
employer-sponsored coverage, and the economy still lagging,
many children are going without the health insurance
they need to stay healthy and do well in school.
The new health reform law is already helping families
seeking health coverage for their children.
A series of provisions that benefit children are going
into effect this fall, and others will be rolled out
over the next four years.
In 2014, the most sweeping changes will go into effect, most
notably the establishment of state Exchanges, or a
health insurance marketplace where families can explore
options for affordable health coverage.
California is leading the way on ACA implementation efforts – our legislature is the first in the nation to pass
legislation to (known as the California Health Benefit Exchange).
In California, the Exchange will expand coverage to an estimated 8 million uninsured people!
September 2010 and Beyond – How California Children Will Benefit from Health Reform
On September 23rd, 2010, the following provisions will go into effect for
new health plans across the country, breaking down
barriers for families trying to access health coverage
for their children.
Click here for a full overview.
- Pre-existing conditions: Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny
coverage to children seeking insurance or deny treatment
to children already covered due to pre-existing conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or even chronic ear infections). In California there are 576,500 children under the age of 18 who have a pre-existing condition that could benefit from this rule.
- Young adults stay covered: Insurance companies will be required to cover young
adults on their parent’s insurance until age 26, even those who are not students.
In California, 1.3 million young adults could benefit from this rule.
Learn more about the campaign to get young adults covered
- Coverage when kids need it most: Insurance companies won’t be allowed to drop people when they get sick (a common practice today, called “rescission”). They also won’t be allowed to limit the lifetime dollar value of
coverage, which is important for kids with lifelong
conditions like diabetes or asthma or serious health
problems like cancer.
This new rule could help the 1 in 7 children who have special health care needs and who
require more costly, intensive services.
- Free preventive services: Insurance companies will have to cover immunizations
and other preventive health services for infants, children,
and adolescents – at no cost to families.
- Children can keep Healthy Families and Medi-Cal coverage: The successful Healthy Families and Medi-Cal initiatives are protected so children won’t lose coverage even if the state has a deficit.
Together, these programs serve over four million California
**Note that some health plans that existed before the
law was enacted, known as “grandfathered plans,” are exempt from some of the above changes above. Click
here for more information.
More provisions benefiting children will go into effect
leading up to 2014, when the California Health Insurance Benefit Exchange
will be established, giving families access to more
affordable coverage options.
Click here for a full list.
Children Don’t Have to Wait to Enroll in Health Coverage!
A new report from the Urban Institute shows that California is home to 700,000 uninsured children are currently eligible for health
coverage, but not enrolled.
Healthy Families and Medi-Cal are affordable coverage options available to children
in California (a family of three with an income of $46,000 per year may qualify).
For more information on coverage options available
now, click here.
Parents may not know that help is available. We can
all do our part to let children and their families
know that they don’t need to wait to obtain health insurance coverage
– they can get it now! Families interested in learning
more about Medi-Cal or Healthy Families should call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (888-747-1222).
More information is available here.
Also, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
has developed several websites to guide families to
appropriate cover for their children:
FEDERAL CHIP REAUTHORIZATION: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CALIFORNIA TO COVER MORE UNINSURED
On February 4, 2009, President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization bill - H.R. 2 (CHIPRA 2009). With the successful passage of CHIPRA 2009, Congress and President Obama demonstrated a strong
commitment to cover millions of the nation's uninsured
children during this difficult economic time. This
federal leadership on children's health gives California
critical resources to finish the job of providing health
coverage for our 683,000 uninsured children.
California leaders now have the opportunity and responsibility
to do their part to invest in children's health.
If not, CHIP funds will go to other states that can
capitalize on the newly available dollars and many
of California's children will remain uninsured. This
is the moment for California to step up for children
as several other state leaders are doing.
For a brief summary of the key provisions in the federal
CHIP bill and what California will need to do to take
advantage of the opportunities presented in the legislation,
download our memo.