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Expanding Healthcare Access: Arizona’s Medicaid Reforms Set to Extend Coverage to an Additional 10,000 Children. Discover the Details.


Arizona is broadening eligibility criteria for children to receive Medicaid coverage, a development that health care advocates view as a step in the right direction for a state that has long struggled with high numbers of uninsured children.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs revealed on Tuesday that a modification in state legislation, recently approved at the federal level on Friday, will extend eligibility to an additional 10,000 children in Arizona for the KidsCare program.

Hobbs emphasized that increasing access to health care is a key focus of her administration.

To be eligible for the state’s KidsCare program, the annual family income limits are increasing to 225% of the federal poverty level.

This translates to a maximum annual household income of $70,200 for a family of four, as outlined in a fact sheet from the governor’s office. The change is scheduled to go into effect on April 1, with newly eligible families able to start enrolling on March 1, according to Hobbs’ office.

“When children have access to affordable health care, it signifies more than just a healthier life,” Hobbs stated to the group of reporters at the Mountain Park Health Center Glendale Clinic.

“It signifies improved high school and college graduation rates, indicating a higher probability of securing a well-paying job.” 

Arizona Boosts KidsCare: $12.1M for Medicaid in 2024-2025

WINSLOW, ME – OCTOBER 12: Chris Bemis helps his girlfriend’s son Shane Edwards, 12, with his homework at their apartment. Bemis was cut off from MaineCare in 2016 and he doesn’t make enough money to get insurance through the Affordable Care Act. He drives a city bus for Waterville and stays home with his girlfriend Michele Gonya’s children most afternoons while she works. Two of the children need special attention, the oldest has autism and Shane has ADHD. If Medicaid expansion passes, Bemis would be eligible for coverage.

KidsCare is a Medicaid program designed to provide healthcare coverage for children under 19 whose parents earn too much to qualify for regular Medicaid but still struggle to afford commercial insurance, including plans available on the federal Affordable Care Act marketplace, even with financial assistance.

Families are required to pay a monthly premium of $10 to $50 per child, depending on their income.

The state’s budget for 2024 includes $5.5 million in general fund money for KidsCare expansion, with an additional $6.6 million allocated for fiscal year 2025, according to AHCCCS officials who made the announcement on Tuesday.

Arizona’s Medicaid program is known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, while KidsCare is the state’s equivalent of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

Established in 1997 with bipartisan backing under the Clinton administration, CHIP has been a crucial program for children’s healthcare.

The Children’s Action Alliance in Phoenix advocated for raising the KidsCare threshold to 300% of the federal poverty level, equivalent to a household income of up to $90,000 for a family of four.

Increasing the limit to 225% is a positive move for Arizona, according to Matt Jewett, health policy director for the Children’s Action Alliance.

He mentioned that the median income limit for children’s health insurance programs nationwide is 255% of the federal poverty level.

“We are making progress, but we are still behind most states,” Jewett noted. “This signifies that 10,000 children will receive the necessary care, enabling them to access preventive measures to manage their asthma effectively.

This will reduce school absences, emergency room visits, and provide parents with peace of mind.”

Jewett mentioned that the next course of action involves reaching out to families to inform them that their children may now be eligible for coverage through KidsCare. If anyone requires help, they can visit or dial 800-377-3536.

AHCCCS mainly offers health coverage to individuals with low income, usually residing at around 138% or below the federal poverty level, as well as to individuals with disabilities.

Typical AHCCCS limits differ but usually range up to 138% of the federal poverty level, equivalent to $43,056 in yearly household earnings for a family of four.

The KidsCare program stands out from traditional Medicaid due to its higher income parameters, allowing the children of working families with incomes above the poverty level to enroll in AHCCCS.

These families often find it challenging to afford essential needs such as healthcare for their children.

On Feb. 16, federal officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted Arizona’s request to increase the KidsCare income limit.

The shift occurred due to a bill approved by the Arizona Legislature in 2023 and subsequently signed into law by Hobbs.

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