More kids covered

This is a post by Children’s Health Policy and Advocacy team. They’re nonpartisan and proudly serve as child health experts and as a resource for our elected officials. Follow Children’s Policy and Advocacy staff on Twitter.

Approximately 16,000 children will now be insured and have access to healthcare thanks to a finally implemented 2009 law. That is great news for kids and their families.

The healthcare expansion will cover working families who make between 150 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline(FPG) and will improve their access to care and preventative services. The new law eliminates the current four-month waiting period previously required and will allow every child under 18 to be eligible for MinnesotaCare, Minnesota’s subsidized insurance program for working families.

Those children under 200 percent of the FPG will be eligible for MinnesotaCare without premiums. Prior to the changes, a family of four earning less than $46,000 would have to pay premiums of up to $70 per child in order to participate in MinnesotaCare.

The new healthcare expansion is estimated to cost $11 million a year when fully implemented with the federal government covering half.

While this is certainly great news for the newly covered 16,000 children, officials estimate there are anywhere from 71,000 to 84,000 children who still lack health coverage. Minnesota is also the only state in the country that saw an increase in the number of children covered by health insurance last year, dropping in rankings to 27th in the country. According to the Annie Casey Foundation 2012 Kids Count Data Book, Minnesota also dropped from second to fifth in the nation in the overall well-being indicators for children.

While we applaud the new law and successes in getting more kids covered, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to do. Every child deserves a chance to be healthy.

To read the entire Kids Count Report, click here.

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