Florida drops over 22K kids from health coverage, against new federal protections

ORLANDO, Fla. — Newly released data shows Florida dropped more than 22 thousand children from KidCare in the last four months because parents didn’t pay their premium. KidCare is a subsidized children’s health insurance program.

This is despite new federal protections that bar states from doing this.


The latest news is all while Florida is challenging the new federal protections. A hearing was held in Tampa Thursday. Meanwhile, critics say the state is acting like it already won the lawsuit by dropping thousands of kids from coverage.

Erin Booth says she fears her son could join that growing statistic of children losing KidCare. Booth says they rely heavily on that coverage.

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“He visits the orthopedic. He visits the neurologist. Now he visits a gastroenterologist, a urologist,” Booth said, listing off the medical bills adding up.

Her 8-year-old son Landon has been in remission the past year after being diagnosed with Leukemia in March 2021.

“It’s very important that we don’t lose any medical coverage,” Booth said. “I hate to say it, we’re one blood test the way that you could have relapsed. If you missed that one appointment. Like it’s a life-or-death situation, leukemia. Acute leukemia is very fast.”

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Easter Sunday, Landon was disenrolled from Medicaid. He’s one of thousands of kids impacted by the state’s unwinding process of dropping coverage after the pandemic.

Now, Booth fears they’ll lose coverage again-- this time from KidCare, a subsidized children’s health insurance program (CHIP) used by many who are ineligible for Medicaid.

Data shows Florida is going against new federal protections that require states to provide 12 months of continuous coverage in Medicaid or CHIP program and bar states from disenrolling children for failure to pay premiums during that year. Florida has dropped 22,576 children since January 1 for unpaid premiums.

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Booth’s is 280 dollars a month.

“I don’t know how I’m gonna pay next month. So, I can’t imagine like, kids being dropped like that,” Booth said.

Florida is the only state challenging the new federal requirement. A judge ordered Thursday morning for the state and the federal government to draft a proposed order by the end of April for the court to review.

If Florida wins, it could set a precedent and impact care for children nationwide.

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