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The Goal: United Way recognizes the importance of caring for our community’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens and we are committed to ensuring that all children in our counties have health coverage and access to quality medical care. The goal of Healthy Kids Sonoma County is to provide immediate access to health care and comprehensive health insurance for all children.
The Problem: Currently, there are approximately 7,000 uninsured children in Sonoma County (this is 3,000 fewer uninsured children then 2009). Many children have no coverage because their families are unaware of coverage opportunities or unable to navigate the complexity of the enrollment system. Other children are ineligible because they are undocumented or come from families earning slightly too much to qualify for public programs. Without health insurance, many children are unable to obtain basic primary care, preventative screening, developmental assessments and specialty care. As a result, uninsured children are less likely to get necessary care, risking serious illness and incurring otherwise avoidable hospitalizations.
The Challenge: Healthy Kids programs have been developed to provide health insurance to children who would otherwise go uninsured. United Way is a strong partner in the Healthy Kids programs in both Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. In Sonoma County, an average of 16,500 children were enrolled or re-enrolled in health coverage in 2009, and 18,000 children in 2010 through Healthy Kids Sonoma County. With the number of uninsured adults skyrocketing, this also means thousands of children have lost coverage they had through their parents. Starting in January 2011, Healthy Kids Sonoma County began helping families enroll in food stamps and are now the largest food stamp enroller in the county.
The Solution: Healthy Kids Sonoma County reaches children who remain outside the health care system by:
1. Helping families enroll their children in public health insurance by placing Health Outreach Workers (Certified Application Assistants) in schools and community organizations.
2. Providing health insurance through a licensed health insurance plan to children who are not eligible for existing public and private plans.
The Opportunity: Investing in our children is perhaps the most significant step we can take to promote the health and well-being of the community at large. High ticket emergency room visits and escalated medical conditions can be prevented by sustained, regular health care. The average cost of an avoidable hospital stay in 2006 was approximately $3,885 (Consumer Price Index for Medical Care). The average cost to insure a child in our community for one year is $1,200 through Healthy Kids.
Be an advocate for children's health. Learn about current legislation in the House and Senate by clicking here and call or write to your legislators to show your support. To learn more about to ensure your voice is heard visit our advocacy page.
For more information, please contact Darlene Fiscus at 707.528.4485 x108.