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Insurance program for kids freezes enrollment

By By Bill Crist Publisher
The Alabama Department of Public Health announced a freeze on enrollment in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) ALL Kids, effective Sept. 1, 2003.
According to Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, the move is the result of uncertainty over future funding.
According to officials with the program, there are over 600 children in Escambia County currently enrolled in ALL Kids.
The freeze means that applications for new enrollees received after Sept. 1 are being placed on a waiting list in the order they are received.
Raulerson said that in both cases, the parents of the children earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to be able to afford health insurance premiums.
The children who are currently enrolled in ALL Kids may remain on the program, if they continue to meet all eligibility criteria, at their time of renewal. As current enrollees become ineligible the total number of children covered through ALL Kids will decline.
ALL Kids provides comprehensive health care coverage for children under the age of 19 in families whose incomes are above Medicaid eligibility levels and below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Parents of enrolled children are able to access affordable health care with the program's comprehensive benefits package.
This program has been critical in the success of reducing the number
of uninsured children in Alabama to one of the lowest levels in the state's history. Since ALL Kids began in October 1998, more than 109,544 children in Alabama have received health care coverage.
ALL Kids is beginning its fifth year with over 61,000 children currently enrolled in the program. ALL Kids is funded with 79 percent federal funds drawn down by a 21 percent state match, most of which comes from the General Fund.
According to Raulerson, Alabama was a leader nationally in its implementation of the program. The proof was in the results she said.
Harrell said the risk of losing additional federal funds was very real, because of the state being unable to meet its matching percentage.
ALL Kids will continue to distribute and accept applications for enrollment. This is because the application form for ALL Kids is a joint application for three other programs: SOBRA Medicaid, Medicaid for Low Income Families and the Alabama Child Caring Foundation.
Applications are being screened and those children who are eligible for ALL Kids will be placed on a waiting list in the order in which they are received.
Applications for children who are not eligible for ALL Kids but who appear to be eligible for one of the other programs will be orwarded to that program.
For more information, please call the ALL Kids administrative offices at (334) 206-5568 or toll-free at (877) 774-9521.