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Apple Health program for kids gets federal funding

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By Amy Daybert
Herald Writer
The state's health insurance program for children, Apple Health for Kids, will receive money from the federal government for the third consecutive year.
The state Legislature in 2007 created Apple Health for Kids so children in low-income families could receive affordable health coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday awarded $16.9 million to the program. Washington was one of 23 states with health coverage programs for children that received a total of about $300 million in federal funds.
The performance bonuses were established in February 2009 as part of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. States compete for an annual bonus award by demonstrating their commitment to covering uninsured children. Apple Health for Kids was recognized by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for offering 12-month continuous coverage and simplified application procedures.
The program covers 733,000 children, said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children's Alliance, an organization that advocates for children's health care.
The award is the result of years of work by the statewide organization to make health care coverage available for all children, Gould said.
"It's absolutely great news," he said. "(The money) is going to be used to continue to support the enrollment of kids in Apple Health for Kids."
Pamela Oliver of Everett enrolled her five-year-old son, Stevie Jr., in the program in February after learning he was not eligible for Medicaid benefits. Stevie Jr. was born prematurely and required a tracheotomy, Oliver said. Now he needs in-home nursing, costly medical supplies and several kinds of therapy. Apple Health for Kids means her son gets the care he needs and that it's affordable, Oliver added.
"(The award) will allow more kids who need health care to apply," she said. "I'm sure there are more families out there like ours."
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491;
Story tags » Health organizationsPreventative medicine

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