In a hearing today, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board agreed to restart enrolling children in Healthy Families coverage tomorrow, September 17th, after making a formal finding that funding is now sufficient to avoid disenrolling children currently enrolled in the program.
While Governor Schwarzenegger has yet to sign AB1422(Bass), the bill that helps bridge the funding gap by drawing down new federal funds, he has committed he will sign it.
As quoted in their press release, Lesley Cummings, Executive Director to the Board, stated, “Today, the Board was able to make a finding that there are sufficient funds at this time to fully cover estimated expenditures in the Healthy Families Program. I am happy to announce there will be no disenrollments and the program will be open to new enrollment beginning tomorrow. Our administrative vendor, Maximus, has already begun processing applications from the waiting list. The Board’s finding was made possible by three key actions: the passage of AB 1422, program changes to cut expenditures, and the generous commitment from the state First Five Commission to provide funding for children ages 0 to 5 in the program. We are extremely grateful for the huge outpouring of support for the Healthy Families Program and the fact that hundreds of thousands of children in California will have access to health care as a result.”
The “program changes to cut expenditures” were additional costs placed on these low-income families, including increases in subscriber premiums and co-payments for health care services that will save the program approximately $17.5 million this year, effective November 1.
In the short amount of time that enrollment was closed, the waiting list grew to 87,000-plus children. It will take Maximus, the administrative vendor, about 30 days to notify families as to whether their children are eligible and have been enrolled in the program. Actual health care coverage once enrolled begins after 10 days.