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The Healthy Families Program is designed to fill the gap for those who are off welfare, but not earning enough to afford private health insurance. The program fills a definite need, but officials say too many people are signing up for the program and then dropping out.
The state has expended considerable effort and expense to get the working poor to enroll in the Healthy Families Program. The cost for coverage is modest, up to $7.00 a month per child. In spite of the effort to sign up people and the relatively low cost for participants in the program, as many as 40 percent are dropping out.
Those who work with families in the program say even the smallest monthly premium seems to be too much to pay. "Most of our patients are former Medi-Cal patients who are accustomed to having no payments," explained Dr. Gilbert Simon of the Sacramento Family Medical Clinic. "So the idea of any payment is more than they are accustomed to paying."
Caroline Crowley is a mother of five. She says the $35 in monthly premiums is simply more than she can afford. "It wouldn't be good because I don't have seven dollars for every child to pay," said Crowley.
There is currently a proposal in the legislature to make health care more affordable for those most in need. It's part of a package of bills aimed at getting health insurance for more Californians. Under the new legislation being sponsored by Senator Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, the Healthy Families Program would be expanded so that a family of three with an annual income under $21,000 would pay no monthly premium.
Despite the efforts of the state to publicize the Healthy Families program, almost seven million people in the state still have no medical insurance
(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)