Arroyo Grande, CA (PressExposure) January 26, 2009 -- In New York, for example, the income level for a family of four qualifying for Child Health Plus, the state's kids' insurance program, increased from $51,625 to $53,000 a year. This is 250% higher than the federal poverty level. And in California, the income level for a husband and a pregnant wife qualifying for Access for Infants and Mothers is now $52,800, which is 300% higher than the federal poverty level.
"Other states have made similar changes in their guidelines, which means that many more people qualify for coverage," said Tom Carolan, Director of Client Services at BestHealthcareRates.com. Not all government-sponsored programs are free; many are low cost or target a specific disease.
For instance, Healthy Families, a federally funded children's health insurance program, costs $4 to $15 per month. Most families who qualify are unaware of the program. In California alone, nearly 1 million uninsured children are eligible for a number of comprehensive health coverage programs such as Healthy Families, CaliforniaKids, Kaiser Permanente Child Health Plan and Healthy Kids, but are not enrolled. Among disease-specific programs are Georgia's plan to provide breast cancer screening for the uninsured and Texas' program for children with special needs.
According to the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, a quarter of the uninsured...approximately 12 million people, are eligible for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program but are not enrolled. Many of these people are employed and assume that they are ineligible. However, under the latest federal poverty guidelines, a growing number of people qualify for government programs. There are a few obstacles that need to be addressed in order to get more of the eligible individuals the health insurance plans they qualify for. For example, government sponsored plans are not well publicized, so people do not know that they even exist. And, few are leading the charge to market these kinds of programs. Also, many people do not apply for government sponsored programs because the application process is so difficult and time consuming.
For people who cannot afford coverage or who don't qualify, BestHealthcareRates.com can put them in touch with non-profit groups such as the Foundation for Health Coverage Education. The foundation helps determine people's eligibility for government-sponsored healthcare and even helps them with the application process. "At BestHealthcareRates.com, we are committed to helping America solve its healthcare crisis by helping the uninsured find affordable healthcare", said Tom Carolan.