LOS ANGELES–More than one million California children gained access to health care coverage Mondaywhen Health and Welfare Agency Secretary Sandra R. Smoley– launched the Healthy Families Program–California’s most sweeping health care initiative to date and the first of its kind in the nation. Joining Secretary Smoley at the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood were State Health Director Kim Belshe–Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board Chairperson Cliff Allenby–Edison International Chief Executive Officer John Bryson–media personality Mario Machado–and a team of corporate–community and health care partners.
The Healthy Families program and a reformed Medi-Cal for Children will provide low-cost and no-cost comprehensive health care coverage to the state’s most vulnerable population–low-income–uninsured children under 19 years of age–whose familis may have income up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Under the Healthy Families program–families may choose a health plan from a variety of participating health care organizations. A low monthly premium–which is determined by family size–income level and the plan selected–is required. Co-paymen’s will be $5 for most services–while preventive services–such as immunizations–will be free. Medi-Cal for Children now offers more eligible children no-cost health care coverage.
The California Department of Health Services has already begun a public awareness media campaign to alert families to the new Medi-Cal for Children. The campaign consists of billboards and a toll-free line (1-888-747-1222) that will provide callers with information about how they can apply for the program. To expand this effort–the state today unveiled a major component of the media campaign that will begin airing on July 6. This ambitious media campaign consists of television ads–billboards–transit ads–multilingual educational and collateral materials–and the same toll-free information line with live operator assistance in ten languages.
The Healthy Families program and Medi-Cal for Children share one easy-to-use mail-in application booklet that can be ordered by calling the toll-free number or obtained free of charge at many local community centers–hospitals–medical offices–and clinics throughout the state. "These agencies comprise an extensive community-based program network that has been trained to assist families to sign up for the programs," said Allenby.