This column features selected short items about state health care policy.
KidCare plan to add parents
CHICAGO—Nearly 30,000 working-poor parents will be eligible for health insurance as part of an expansion of the state’s KidCare program, the governor and U.S. Health and Human Services director have announced. KidCare is a state and federally funded program that offers health care benefits either directly or by defraying private insurance bills. It currently offers coverage only to low-income children and pregnant women. Now, the program will be expanded to include parents or caregivers and will be called FamilyCare. In the first phase, 29,000 adults are expected to benefit, and the $24 million cost of the added coverage will be borne by the federal government. But under a five-year plan, Illinois gained authority to expand the program much further to cover an estimated 300,000 parents. However, the state would be required to fund 35% of the costs for that to happen. Such an expansion would cost the state $80 million to $100 million a year, health care advocates said.
—Chicago Tribune, Sept. 13
Medicaid clients can mail in prescriptions
OLYMPIA, WA—Washington state is starting a mail-order prescription drug service for Medicaid clients in an attempt to help patients who don’t have access to a pharmacy because of state budget cuts. The service will let doctors of Medicaid patients fax or mail prescriptions directly to Medco Health Solutions Inc., a New Jersey-based company with pharmacies around the United States, including one in Spokane. Medco Health will fill the prescription and send it to the client’s home, either by regular mail, a parcel service, or registered mail, depending on the drug.
—Spokane Spokesman-Review, Sept. 26