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St. Elizabeth's assisting with KidsCare signups

For the first time in six years, KidsCare, federally subsidized state insurance for children up to 18, will be available to families in Pima County. Starting Tuesday, Arizona began taking applications for the low-cost health insurance, with coverage beginning as early as September 1.

KidsCare will provide medical, dental and vision insurance to qualified families at no cost to the state; the federal government covers the entire cost. Staff at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center, 140 W. Speedway, are offering to help families enroll in the program from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Enrollments had been frozen since 2010.

Melanie Morgan, a spokeswoman for St. Elizabeth’s, said the center’s mission is to support the healthcare needs of the underserved.

“Providing this enrollment assistance falls in line with the work we do in the community,” she said. “We want to make sure as many people as possible have access to quality care and having insurance makes this access easier.”

St. Elizabeth’s is a faith-based community health center that provides many medical services to people who are uninsured. By using a sliding scale based on each individual’s income, the center is able to provide low-cost care to thousands of patients each year, according to their website.

Morgan said about 75 percent of their patients live at or below the poverty level. Along with assistance enrolling in KidsCare, the center's staff help people apply for the state’s AHCCS (Arizona Health Care Containment System) program and Marketplace plans.

“Many of our patients function with no insurance,” Morgan said. “In response to community need, St. Elizabeth’s offers a full range of services and free childcare is available to anyone who is a registered patient during their scheduled visit.”

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The KidsCare program is part of a national initiative called the Children’s Health Insurance Program and was reinstated by Governor Doug Ducey on May 6. After the enrollment freeze placed on the program in 2010, Arizona was the only state with no CHIP program in place.

KidsCare will cost families no more than $50 a month per child and no more than $70 in total, regardless of the number of children in the family. Some may even qualify for free KidsCare benefits. 

The inexpensive plan will provide similar services to the AHCCS Program and is available to the children whose parents make too much to qualify for AHCCS.

According to the Arizona Alliance of Community Health Centers, about 4,700 local children may qualify for this insurance and about 30,000 children could qualify statewide.

To apply, the child or children must be 18 or under, have a social security card and be an Arizona resident. They also need to be a legal citizen of the United States, or a qualified immigrant, under the income limit, which varies on the number of people living within a household.

The following is a list of necessary documentation St. Elizabeth employees will need to help families enroll in KidsCare. People will also need this information if they choose to apply on their own, using the healthcare marketplace website

  • ID: driver’s license, state I.D., passport or birth certificate.
  • Citizenship: Passport, birth certificate, legal permanent resident card
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of address: Lease or recent utility bill. If you live with someone else you will need a letter from the home owner and a letter from someone who can prove you live at the address. 
  • Income: Pay stubs for the last 30 days, letter of self-employment with monthly earnings for the past 12 months, or a letter from your employer stating date of hire, salary, pay dates, or a Social Security award letter, or retirement pension, or TANF statement or unemployment award letter.
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