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San Mateo County Universal Health Insurance Initiative is Improving the Health of Children in San Mateo County

 

For Immediate Release
Date: September 9, 2021
Contact: Toby Douglas, San Mateo County Health Services Agency
Phone: 650-573-2095
Email: [email protected]


San Mateo, CA--San Mateo County is well on its way to improving the health of children in San Mateo County. Through the work of the Children's Health Initiative (CHI) Coalition, enrollment in the new Healthy Kids program has far surpassed expectations with 3,800 children (almost 70 percent of 5,350 eligible kids) receiving coverage since January 2003. During the same period approximately 6,000 children were enrolled in the existing state medical insurance programs, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. Today the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors received a complete progress report on CHI.

The San Mateo County's CHI was established to address community-wide concern that 10 percent of county children lacked access to comprehensive health insurance coverage. Through the efforts of a broad-based, local coalition, CHI uses a three-option model for health insurance to cover all children from low-income and middle-income families. CHI provides easier access to Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, and adds Healthy Kids, to serve children who don't qualify for the first two.

Qualifying for Healthy Kids has made a big difference for the Jaqua family. "Before, when our daughter had a cold we would have to pay $50 to $70 per visit," said Ms. Jaqua. "Now, with Healthy Kids, that's what we pay for the entire year. I feel more confident and more comfortable. My daughter is a healthy child, but you just don't know. Having insurance gives me peace of mind." Healthy Kids has also assisted other families preventively care for their child's dental, mental health and vision problems rather than wait until the conditions become too severe.

However, many low and middle income families are still not aware of the availability of health insurance for their kids, leaving thousands of children without access to comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage. Like the Jaqua family, many households earn too much to enroll in the existing Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs, since the cost of living in San Mateo County is so high. According to recent county data, a household must earn more than $61,000 to raise a family of three. Now these families are ensured health coverage for their children through CHI.

"A dedicated public-private partnership has worked together to bring universal health care to our county," said Supervisor Mike Nevin. "The vision is for all children residing in the county to have access to quality health care through comprehensive health insurance. We now need to make sure that all families, both low-income and middle-income, are aware of this innovative health insurance program and enroll their uninsured children."

For more information, please contact Toby Douglas, San Mateo County Health Services Agency, at 650-573-2095, e-mail: [email protected], or visit www.smcchi.org.