Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday discussed his efforts to maintain health insurance services for children of the working poor.
"It is important for people to understand that my budget proposal to the Legislature calls for a $10 million increase in funding for Alabama's Children's Health Insurance Program," Governor Bentley said. "Despite the financial challenges facing the state, when we submitted our budgets to the Legislature, we prioritized and increased the funding for this vital program. If the Legislature follows my budget recommendations, we will not have to cut children's health insurance service levels."
The Children's Health Insurance Program, commonly known as ALL Kids, is a comprehensive coverage plan for children under the age of 19. The plan is administered by the Alabama Department of Public Health but restricted by federal guidelines that are in place regarding eligibility for the program.
"I have asked the federal government to give Alabama flexibility in qualification guidelines in order to have options. I want to be prepared to make the best use of the resources we will have available in the coming fiscal year," Governor Bentley said. "Planning ahead will give us the tools we need in order to provide health insurance for the largest number of children possible and to cover those most in need."
The eligibility changes requested by the Governor would only affect families whose income is more than twice the poverty rate. Currently, ALL Kids guidelines cover families of four whose income is up to $69,000 a year. If the Governor's waiver request is granted, the state would have the flexibility to prioritize families of four earning up to $46,000 per year.
"My goal is to focus our resources on those who need them the most," Governor Bentley said. "ALL Kids has been made possible in large part by the positive support of the Legislature. My budget recommendations prioritize essential services like ALL Kids in these difficult economic times, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that those who need this coverage the most are able to receive it."