Florida Covering Kids & Families conducts statewide outreach to service members and their families, veteran support organizations and other entities that serve service members past and present. Military families sometimes get lost in the shuffle when it comes to information about civilian services available to them. Many military-based services are discontinued when the service member is off "active duty" status and there tends to be a gap in the continuity of services for some service members. FL-CKF is working to reduce that gap when it comes to children's health insurance information.
Since 2010, an estimated 1 in 10 of the nation’s 12.5 million nonelderly veterans report neither having insurance coverage, nor using Veterans Affairs care. Approximately 950,000 nonelderly members of their families are also uninsured. Combined, there are an estimated 2.3 million uninsured veterans and family members, making up 4.8 percent of the nation’s 47.3 million uninsured (Urban Institute Report, 2012).
Among veterans aged 18-64, those without coverage were five times more likely than insured veterans to delay care because of costs, six times more likely to forego medications because of costs, and seven times more likely to forego medical care because of costs than those with insurance (American Journal of Public Health, 2007). Children of veterans are not eligible for treatment in VA Centers.
George Washington University (2005) reports that the military community includes 1.8 million American children and youth under 18 years of age, with more than 700,000 of those being National Guard and Reserve children. Additionally, Medicaid covers 1 in 12 military children plus 1 in 9 military children with special needs.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has made great efforts to arm military families with necessary tools to positively cope with deployments and a unique lifestyle. Our military children are resilient. They face adverse situations, such as deployments and a transient lifestyle, yet adapt. They grow stronger and serve as leaders in their communities. Without adequate medical coverage, many needs of military children may be overlooked. By promoting Florida KidCare through existing military services, we provide an option for military or veteran families to ensure the continued well-being of our military children.
Florida KidCare is not traditionally promoted as an option on military bases. Many military families rely on the knowledge and resources provided on base by military supporting agencies and are not aware that their children may qualify for additional coverage. In fact, active duty members who qualify for Medicaid may obtain that for a supplemental coverage even if they have TRICARE. This is especially important for families who have children with special health care needs. Medicaid has the ability to fill gaps, provide wrap-around services, and assist families who meet the income qualification and whose coverage is insufficient in relation to their children’s health care needs and the families’ financial outlook.
Within Florida, Florida KidCare outreach specifically targeting service members and veterans builds upon our commitment to caring for veterans, military members, and their families. This commitment reinforces the assurance to ensuring the highest quality health care possible to our nation’s service members and military families and offers expanded coverage for veterans and service members who have children with special health care needs. The coverage offered through CHIP and Medicaid means health security for kids and peace of mind for military and veterans’ families.
For additional information on how Florida KidCare can benefit veterans and service members, please contact our Military Outreach Coordinator, Tammy Watson, at email@example.com.