Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida
Florida KidCare Offers Health Coverage for Uninsured Families
For families struggling to get affordable health care for their children, Florida KidCare is an easy option. The program, which is available through Lee Memorial Health System, offers health services to families who do not have health insurance.
Many people don t even know about this program, says Kim Samuelson, KidCare coordinator for Golisano Children s Hospital of Southwest Florida. We usually get families involved when they come to the Emergency Department or through our outreach efforts.
The program is available to families in all income brackets, as long as they do not currently have insurance. The program covers children ages 1-18 throughout the state. Kim works with families to determine what their monthly cost for the program is, based on their income and family size. All American citizens, as well as documented residents of other countries, may apply for the program.
The goal of the program is to keep children healthy, Kim says. We want parents to seek medical help through regular checkups and through their family physician, instead of waiting until an illness escalates and then they end up in the Emergency Department. It helps keep children well, and when they are ill, helps them improve more quickly.
The program covers everything from routine physician visits to shots, surgery, prescriptions, emergencies and mental health. While not all local physician offices accept Florida KidCare, most do, Kim says. I haven t seen a patient yet who wasn t able to see a physician, she says.
Kim helps families with the application process, making it easy to apply for the program. After families have provided the necessary information, the process takes about four to six weeks to become active. This is not Medicaid, Kim says. Medicaid is retroactive, but KidCare is not. That s why it s important to apply as soon as possible, before you need care.
Kim says that some of her clients were reluctant to apply for the program because they had health insurance in the past but because of a job loss, can no longer afford it. These are people who have always been responsible, she says. People need to take advantage of this program. It s beneficial and ultimately helps their children.
Laura Ortiz, a nursing director at Golisano Children s Hospital of Southwest Florida, says the program has already had an impact on many families.
This program started with one person to follow up with families, she says. The program was so successful it has now been expanded to provide application assistance to families at both HealthPark Medical Center and Cape Coral Hospital. We want families to have the coverage they need to keep their children healthy.
For more information on the KidCare program, call Kim Samuelson, 239-343-5821.