CONSUMER SERVICES HELPLINE
MORE THAN 70,000 KIDS
State agencies and community partners ramp up statewide
Back-to- School outreach campaign to help uninsured families
apply for Florida KidCare
Dawn Bass was recently forced into a difficult situation.
She says she was going through a trying time and realized
she couldn’t afford private health insurance for her
16-year-old daughter. As the parent of a growing teenager,
she knew she had to do something. Fortunately a co-worker
told her about low-cost insurance available through Florida
KidCare and Dawn took advantage of the opportunity. She
submitted an application and within a few weeks, her
daughter had quality health care benefits that cost less
than $20 per month.
The growing number of kids enrolling in Florida KidCare is
the result of a year-long outreach campaign led by the
Governor’s office, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Alex Sink
and the leaders of several state agencies who’ve dedicated
resources and staff to promote the program. With the help of
business and community groups, the state will target the
families of the half million uninsured children in Florida
and help them apply for KidCare as they prepare for the new
“We have a simple message: KidCare is open for business and
is providing quality health insurance at an affordable
price,” said CFO Sink, who chairs the Healthy Kids Board.
“With Florida KidCare, many working families are ensuring
their children have access to preventative health care.”
Sink was joined by Florida Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros,
Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob
Butterworth, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary
Holly Benson, Education Commissioner Eric Smith, Healthy
Kids Executive Director Rich Robleto, legislators, community
groups, business leaders, health plans and health care
providers at the State Capitol on Monday to launch the
Dawn’s story is not so
unusual. In Florida, uninsured children are the exception,
not the rule. In fact, nine out of 10 children in Florida
have healthcare coverage – either private or public. Dawn’s
daughter joined the 1.4 million children enrolled in Florida
KidCare. Since last summer, the state and
federally-subsidized program enrolled 70,000 more children
who now have access to preventive care such as regular
doctor visits, immunizations, dental check-ups and
prescriptions. Like Dawn, many families pay $20 or less per
month; most pay nothing at all.
This year, the Governor and legislature approved funding for
38,000 more uninsured children to join KidCare and each
state agency has pledged to increase opportunities for
families to apply for the program. In addition to having a
visible presence at back-to-school events, the agencies are
implementing the following activities:
• All 67 county health departments will host KidCare
promotional events the first weekend in August.
• Florida KidCare is working with the school districts to
distribute more than 2.5 million applications to children at
the start of the school year.
• The Agency for Healthcare Administration is placing
KidCare promotional materials and applications in emergency
rooms and large pediatric centers across the state.
• The Department of Children and Families is sharing KidCare
information with families receiving public assistance, such
as food stamps and WIC.
• The Office of the Governor is working with Volunteer
Florida to distribute KidCare information to faith-based
With the recent state budget cuts and lack of funding for
traditional marketing of Florida KidCare, all of the program
stakeholders are implementing creative outreach methods to
target families with uninsured kids. The Florida Association
of Health Plans and its members, as well as health care
providers including the Florida Hospital Association, have
always promoted KidCare and they are increasing visibility
of the program in new ways. For example, approximately 167
clinics will air KidCare public service announcements on
waiting room televisions.
Another new approach to outreach includes a push by the
Healthy Kids Corporation to teach community-based
organizations how to help families apply for KidCare
benefits. The organization recently launched an online
course called “Florida KidCare 101” that educates approved
groups about the program and demonstrates how to complete
the application process and assist eligible families.
“We’ve got a strong and growing network of people who truly
care about the uninsured kids in this state and they are
helping us remove the barriers that keep families from
applying for KidCare,” said Surgeon General Viamonte Ros.
“We also want parents to know KidCare offers the best value
out there because the program is open to everyone,
regardless of income. So if you have uninsured children,
apply for KidCare now. You can’t afford not to.”
For more information or to apply for Florida KidCare, visit
www.floridakidcare.org. Families can also call
1-888-540-5437 to receive an application by mail.