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First 5 San Bernardino Expands Health Coverage for Children

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First 5 San Bernardino, also known as the Children and Families commission for San Bernardino county, approved the Healthy Kids initiative expanding health coverage to children ages 0 to18 whose families earn too much money to qualify for other government-funded programs yet still cannot afford health insurance.

“This initiative will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of San Bernardino County kids and their families,” said Commission Chairman and San Bernardino Supervisor Bill Postmus, who initially proposed the initiative. “This program is aimed to assist families where the parents work but earn too little to afford health insurance and earn too much to be eligible for government health care programs. Early access to quality health care saves taxpayers money down the road.”

First 5 San Bernardino is partnering with Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) to implement the Healthy Kids initiative. First 5 San Bernardino will make an investment of $4 million over the next two years to provide health insurance for children ages 0 to 5 whose family’s income is between 250 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

IEHP will provide $2 million over the next two years to support coverage for kids ages 0 to 5 and expand the initiative to include children ages 6 to 18, bringing the total amount of the program to $6 million. Eligibility in the Healthy Kids initiative is determined by the family’s size and income. For example, a family of four can earn up to $54,300 and be eligible for the program.

The Healthy Kids initiative will provide comprehensive and quality health care coverage, including:
§ Low-cost comprehensive health, dental
and vision insurance
§ Prescription coverage
§ Preventive care, primary care and
§ Hospital care
§ Mental health services
§ Emergency care

“Through the Healthy Kids initiative, First 5 San Bernardino has a tremendous opportunity to address an issue of great concern to many families living in San Bernardino County—access to quality health care,” said Don Larkin, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino.

The Healthy Kids initiative will be implemented in May 2003. First 5 San Bernardino and IEHP will work with community partners to develop and conduct an outreach campaign to help ensure that all eligible families are enrolled in the initiative.
The Commission, established through the California Children and Families First Act of 1998, and partnering service agencies have initiated numerous programs to optimize early childhood development. San Bernardino County receives an allocation of approximately $27 million each year from a statewide, fifty-cent tax on tobacco products. Since the Commission’s inception, thousands of children prenatal to age five and their families have benefited from the quality services provided through the program. For more information, contact First 5 San Bernardino or visit their website at www.sanbernardinokids.org

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