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How a Pay Raise Can Jeopardize Your Family’s Health and Financial Stability: Jennifer's Story

The burden of Florida KidCare "full pay" has hit middle income Floridians especially hard. Full-pay families have incomes above 200% of the federal poverty limit, which is $51,500 for a family of four.

Floridians like Jennifer O., 38, from Palm Beach County have been dealing with this since the initial price hike for full pay. Jennifer explains:

“Recently my husband received a pay raise and we were thrilled. I am a stay at home mom with three kids and the extra money was very welcome. Our children, age 6, 10 and 11 were insured through Florida KidCare and before the raise we paid $20 per month for their health and dental insurance.

After the pay increase, we were moved to the full pay part of the KidCare program, where the premium is $230 per child per month for medical and dental for a total of $690 per month, with an annual medical deductible of $4,250 per child and an annual dental deductible of $1,500 per child. So, we went from $20 a month to $690 a month, which we cannot afford.”

My husband’s job provides health insurance and pays part of my husband’s premium but none of our family’s and the cost of that is about $1000 a month. On top of that, because he is offered health insurance through his job, we are not eligible for tax credits for marketplace insurance and the full pay price is well over $1,000 per month with a $13,700 deductible.”

We now pay for our children out of pocket and hope nothing bad will happen. Why doesn’t Florida KidCare have a sliding fee scale? Once you make one penny over the outer income limit your cost goes from $20 per month for 3 kids to $690 per month for 3 kids. Does any of this make any sense. Who knew that a pay raise could take away our health and financial stability?”

According to Florida KidCare officials, about 15,000 school-age children statewide are from full-pay families. Another 146,000 children who are currently uninsured could be added to the program by making it more affordable.

This year, the Florida Legislature also included funding in the 2019-20 budget to eliminate medical and dental deductibles for families who have been “full pay” in the Healthy Kids program for their school-age children. The Legislature has budgeted $1.1 million to absorb the costs, and the federal government would provide $5.8 million.

This is a major win for Floridians! Still, we have so much further to go to ensure that all working families have access to meaningful health coverage.

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