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Florida Doubles Rates For 36,000 KidCare Full Pay Children, and Blames Obamacare

| August 31, 2015

He just got his KidCare insurance bill. (Alpha)

He just got his KidCare insurance bill. (Alpha)

The families of more than 35,000 children enrolled in the Florida Healthy Kids program will soon have to choose between two more expensive plans, or find new insurance.

The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation recently sent a letter to parents enrolled in the full-pay program earlier this month. It said new requirements in the Affordable Care Act forced them to either raise their rates or shut down the full-pay program, which is part of the Florida KidCare program that serves about 400,000 Florida children.

“In May of this year—after almost two years of persistence on our part—the federal government finally approved our replacement full-pay program as an alternative to federal exchange coverage,” said Rebecca Matthews, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says families will have to select new plans for their children starting Oct. 1. The full-pay program has two plans where parents pay what the state says is an affordable, but not subsidized, monthly premium.

The premium for that plan with low co-pays and no deductible plan will double. For the second plan option, the premiums will stay about the same, but co-pays and deductibles will rise.

Gerson Guzman, a Davenport parent, said his 9-year-old son has been enrolled in health insurance through Florida Healthy Kids for the past three years. He said his premium will go up about $150 – almost double his current rate.

“Budgets are tight so what does that mean?” Guzman said. “I have to cut back on cable, or my cell phone plan or my car insurance. Find ways to cut back. I’m not going to add it to my credit card.”

Guzman said he got his letter mid-August, less than a month before the first premium is due so that coverage can begin in October. Now he has to decide whether to pay double his current rate or find new health insurance for his son.

“There was really no time given to us because I have to decide by the end of this month whether I’m going to pay this $299,” Guzman said. “So that gave me like, what, 19 days to decide, to readjust my budget?”

For parents who choose not to continue in the full-pay program, HHS approved a special enrollment period to allow them to sign up for health insurance on before November.

“So they’re being given a special enrollment period to see if maybe there are some plan options under the marketplace that may help those families for the kids that need coverage,” said Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families at the University of South Florida.

Open enrollment is also approaching for many employer-sponsored health insurance plans, Ray said, so parents might choose the option to enroll their children in a family plan that way.

In May 2015, Healthy Kids had a combined program enrollment of 184,869 children, with 81 percent of the children—148,984—enrolled in a CHIP plan.

Full-pay program enrollment was tallied at 19 percent of the children—35,885.

Health coverage includes doctor visits, immunizations, dental care, vision services, emergency care, hospital stays and other services for children not eligible for Medicaid.

Florida plan navigators will be available to help families around the state explore their children’s insurance options, said Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families, a program that oversees KidCare and helps with Florida signups.

“Our navigators are prepared to assist these families who need to make some coverage decisions whether they’re choosing one of these new full pay plans or they may have the option of finding a good option under the marketplace plans,” she said.

The new full-pay plans available through KidCare meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverage requirements, but do cost more than old plans.

–Daylina Miller, Health News Florida

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16 Responses for “Florida Doubles Rates For 36,000 KidCare Full Pay Children, and Blames Obamacare”

  1. RickG says:

    Another example of what “pro lifers” believe… Protect the fetus but to hell with the living and breathing kids.

  2. DwFerg says:

    ” If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan’. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost ! Of course the Affordable Care Act will bend the cost curve. UP and UP !

  3. The Truth says:

    “Budgets are tight so what does that mean?” Guzman said. “I have to cut back on cable, or my cell phone plan or my car insurance. Find ways to cut back. I’m not going to add it to my credit card.”

    That’s exactly what you do. There are many alternatives to cable TV and cell phone service. If you have the latest and greatest smartphone out there, sell it and switch to a less expensive plan. Check out Cricket Wireless, H2O Wireless and countless other lower cost companies instead of the big four (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint). They’re the most expensive. I cut my cell phone bill by nearly $80/mo for one line.

    As for cable TV, with services like Netflix/Hulu and countless others a high priced cable TV package just isn’t necessary anymore. Do yourself a favor and cut the cord.

    I’m not saying that what’s happening to those enrolled in the program is fair, but when it comes to cutting back I think we can all cut back on our expenses particularly cell phones. It seems many of us are okay with dropping $200 a month to have a fancy phone and a lot of data, but we don’t want to spend that money on more important things.

    • Aves says:

      What happens when you’ve already cut back and you still don’t have the money? I grew up on KidCare and with a disabled parent. We didn’t have cable or luxuries and we still struggled to pay rent and food. Now I’m slightly better off but it’s still hard to find things to cut. I have a smartphone plan because it’s better than the shitty ATT internet and having a high-speed data connection is required for my work at home job. A lot of data isn’t a requirement for everyone but having any at all is often required for applying to jobs and the like.

  4. Sherry E says:

    Right On Rick G!

    If our horrific governor and his cronies in the legislature had not taken away the power of our insurance commissioner to negotiate health insurance rates. . . and IF they had extended medicaid, our families and neighbors would be paying less for all their health premiums. A Single Payer plan similar to Medicare (which is what President Obama preferred) would have cost even less.

  5. Marvelous says:

    Another company raising rates. Not one person saw this coming? Force everyone to have insurance and the companies see money signs it makes it almost impossible to find affordable coverage for the middle class.

  6. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    “Of course it’s obamacare,” says the former CEO of a medical insurance company, known for making decisions that benefit the patient and not the shareholders, and certainly not the recipient of the biggest medicare fraud lawsuit in history.

  7. Obama 2015 says:

    The Affordable Care Act has been the law since 2010 why did it take them 5 years to get up to the requirements?

    How much of this has to do with the Governor not accepting medicaid expansion? Rick Scott so far has left on the table up to $51 billion (some of which we have and will continue to send to the federal government in taxes), which initially is 100 percent federally funded to cover almost 1 million people who currently do not have insurance coverage.

  8. KB63 says:

    Yes, Truth, we should all cut back. Get rid of your internet service so the kids can really get behind in school. Buy less groceries, kids simply eat too much anyway! Get rid of that car & find a job close enough to walk to, who needs transportation? Don’t put your kid in daycare or an after school program, let the 8 year old be a latch key kid! Buy every piece of your clothing at Thrift Stores, whose prices are now outrageous because they figured out they can sell a used pair of shorts for $2. less than new and the poor folks have to buy.

    These are middle income people that don’t qualify for any help – people who work every day of their lives just to make it – so the State of Florida is going to make it even worse for them so it can put them right into poverty. Someone doubles a bill on you, what are you going to do? Yell & hollar, right? There is no choice here, it’s pay up or let your kid suffer! This is sickening, and again, our government at it’s worst.

  9. Nancy N. says:

    Perhaps Guzman should shop around. My 12 yo daughter is on a pretty good private pay policy from Aetna that is just over $200/mo.

  10. brittany says:

    This exact thing happened to me as-well. I went and shopped around and stuck with united health care since they did the underwriting for healthy kids I knew my providers would accept the united health care Gold Co-pay plan its 204.00 per month. its really sad how all this played out considering its a plan for kids.

  11. Marie says:

    WE all have had to cut back- I have gone back and forth with this same insurance issue. I have refinanced loans, cut corners in my spending. I pay $8.33 for streaming my cable and $50.00 a month for DSL so I can run my TV. I have no phone – I use Magic Jack. We all cut back, but the problem is going from $288.00 to $598 a month with very little warning! This hike is not affordable for those who have an income too high for government favors. But, we are working our butts off to provide for our families!!! Times are hard and we are paying for insurance on the governments budget- not our budget. I, for one will surely remember this on Election Day. In my current situation, I would receive more income to take care of my children by receiving food stamps and medicaid if I didn’t work a full time job that I have had for 15 years. Years ago, before Obama, I could put my whole family on my insurance policy for $30.00 a pay period. Now, for me to insure my family via my work, it would cost me $1100 a month . Now what use to be a great program to help families in my income bracket, it’s now close to $600. a month. That is way too much for me to cut corners. I guess the next step will be people will start foreclosing on their homes, because we are required to pay for insurance with high deductables and high premiums.

  12. Jessie says:

    I am a school teacher of 15 years and a single mother of two, 11 yr and 7yr old. Ex husband didn’t want the responsibities anymore. Ok – that’s life. We deal and keep on rolling…point is, I struggle to make it without child support or any assistance and absolutely do NOT live in the lap of luxury. No after school programs – used to have daughter in gymnastics 1 session a week. Had to tell her No More Gymnastics – her reward for being a straight A Honor Roll student! My son – no after school activities – cannot afford anything for him either! My two healthy children were on $20/mo payment and I truly appreciated it every day! Grateful! Then it jumps to full premium (ouch), now it’s doubled?!? There is NOTHING left for me cut in our budget and YES I will be leaving my JOB to move to northern florida where I will be paid much less for the same job and cost of living and houses are cheaper in the hopes that I can support my children in the future. My children will be taken from school, friends, and everything they know because the insurance premiums have RISEN so much that it is no longer affordable to stay in south florida!!! No fancy house, car, phone, no new clothes, no vacation – Just the basics! Point is …Family budgets can only be cut so much! It’s Pretty Simple, it wasn’t like this before OBAMACARE. Thank you Mr President for the healthcare mess you have created! And for all you who continue to defend this leaderships’ decisions – just remember – it is called “OBAMAcare”. Ironic! Care? Not about hard working, Americans who are struggling, but by all means …double that premium! WAIT! How much are the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS PAYING FOR HEALTH SERVICES when they sneak over???? Honestly…this is absolutely pathetic! okay … ready for some Big Time “CHANGE”. Was a democrat but realize that is synonymous with socialist and will definitely vote republican next time around!

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