Printed on: January 26, 2013

Helping kids stay healthy

By Ruth Brown

An estimated 51,000 Idaho children are without health insurance and a nonprofit group is working to reduce that number.

Covering Idaho Kids -- a nonprofit program of Mountain States Group, Inc. -- has declared Tuesday "Covering Idaho Kids in the New Year Day."

According to its website, Mountain States Group works "locally, nationally, and internationally to promote citizen and community leadership in improving health and human services."

The goal of the Tuesday event is to enroll as many children as possible in a program called Idaho Health Plan Coverage -- a combined Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance program, a news release said.

Up to 54 percent of the Idaho children who are without health insurance could qualify for the program.

Outreach workers will be stationed around the state, including locations in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot and Roberts to provide applications and educational materials, as well as answer questions and assist families with the application process.

All three locations will provide information and assistance in both English and Spanish, a spokeswoman said.

The program is designed to simplify the application process, according to Mindy Stosich, development and compliance officer for Health West, Inc.

While a standard Medicaid application is 11-pages long, the Idaho Health Plan Coverage application is only three-pages long, Stosich said.

"(Health insurance) provides protection for children," she said. "Community health centers are supposed to help provide services like this regardless of a person's (salary)."

To qualify for the program, children must be younger than 19 and U.S. citizens or permanent residents. There also are family income requirements.

Officials recommend families interested in the program bring documentation to verify income earnings from the previous 30 days and resident status.

Covering Idaho Kids

A nonprofit group is seeking to help families find health insurance for their children Tuesday. It is called Covering Idaho Kids.

Covering Idaho Kids is a nonprofit program of Mountain States Group Inc., a 501(c) 3 community resource organization. Visit www.coveringidahokids .com

Participating eastern Idaho locations include:

In Idaho Falls: Community Council of Idaho Family Clinic, 2088 E. 25th St., (208) 528-7655

In Blackfoot: Community Council of Idaho Family Clinic, 625 W. Pacific St., Suite 300, (208) 782-0500

In Roberts: Community Council of Idaho Family Clinic, 651 N. 2858 E., (208) 228-2200.