Children's health care plan expands

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— A new program entitled "Healthy Kids for our County" wants to enroll at least 10,000 Colorado children in the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program by Oct. 22. Routt and Moffat counties are teaming up to help enroll children.

Marilyn Bouldin, campaign coordinator, said the enrollment goal is to sign up 25 children in Moffat County and 31 children in Routt County by the deadline.

The first annual CHP+ Challenge is aimed at reducing the number of children in the state who have no health insurance by involving local communities in enrollment campaigns. CHP+ is a statewide program for uninsured children that was created by the Colorado General Assembly and is supported by a partnership of public agencies and private businesses.

An estimated 76,000 Colorado children are eligible for CHP+ by virtue of living in families with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty level. Children who qualify for Medicaid are not eligible for CHP+.

According to Bouldin, this is a great program that parents need to review.

"This is a wonderful program. We are providing kids who have never had health insurance to get good health care," Bouldin said. "Our goal is to enroll at least 10 percent of those who qualify for CHP+."

Currently, 255 children are eligible for the coverage in Moffat County and 114 of them are enrolled. In Routt County, 310 children are eligible and 66 are receiving CHP+ benefits.

In a drive which started Aug. 15 to obtain more CHP+ applicants, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is offering incentives such as a bike helmet to all who apply by Oct. 22. The VNA has hired a staff member to help with the application process and is heading up the two-county coalition of community partners. These partners include school districts, hospitals, medical clinics and private practices, county extensions, social services, Rotary clubs, Kmart and individual volunteers.

CHP+ covers visits to doctors and clinics for preventive, primary, acute and specialty care; inpatient and outpatient hospitals services; emergency care; prescription drugs; glasses and hearing aids; and behavioral and mental health care. Medical services are provided through health maintenance organizations where available and by CHP+ providers elsewhere. In Moffat County, Craig Medical Clinic and Moffat Family Clinic are providers. In Routt County, it is the Steamboat Medical Group and Dr. Roseanne Iverson.

Most families pay a monthly premium and a small co-payment per visit, based on income and family size. Premiums, which range from $9 to $30, are waived for families with incomes below the federal poverty level, as are co-payments.

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