Health insurance change coming to thousands in Kern [The Bakersfield Californian]
|By Rachel Cook, The Bakersfield Californian|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Now that the state is dissolving the government-subsidized Healthy Families program -- and moving those children into
Cisneros, 52, has taken 17-year-old
"I feel worried," Cisneros said Tuesday. "I don't know if the government program is going to help me or if I'll be paying more."
The transition is under way throughout the state and expected to affect more than 20,000
Officials generally say families need not worry. But there are patient advocates who fear some people will fall through the cracks and lose care.
"The message that we want to get out to the community is that their children will continue to have health coverage," said
The worry is that the transition timeline is too ambitious and that there aren't enough doctors who take
"A lot of the families that we deal with are just doing the best they can to keep their families together and keep their kids fed and healthy," and uncertainty about a change like this can send them into a tailspin, Hefner said.
HEALTHY FAMILIES RISE AND FALL
But that same year, the state froze new enrollment due to a budget crisis;
Already struggling families may drop out of a program like Healthy Families if they feel it's unstable and may disappear, Hefner said. That's one of her concerns.
"We want them to keep the coverage, that's the most important thing," she said.
Healthy Families pays
Families that make up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level,
Health care advocates worry not enough doctors will accept more
But local families moving from
"I think a lot of those families might be struggling to find a provider," Amin said.
On the other hand, Amin and Ogle both said more doctors may be inclined to accept
"There were very few doctors who even had any questions about (the change)," he said.
But some families remain leery.
"Before I had Healthy Families, I had
"(Healthy Families is) less of a hassle and they work with you more," she said.
Nevarez had heard about a shift from Healthy Families to
Nevarez was considering talking with her husband about getting their children health insurance through her husband's job, but she worried that then the family would be at risk of losing their insurance if her husband loses his job. She said she hadn't received any letters about the upcoming change.
On Tuesday, Cisneros said she'd received the second of three letters she was told to expect about the transition but she remained concerned.
She said she had spoken with someone in
The change may be confusing, but Hefner urged families to reach out to their schools, doctors and the Children's Health Initiative of
-- Staff writer
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