HAWK-I expands to cover more Iowa children - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

HAWK-I expands to cover more Iowa children

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It's estimated that more than 12,000 children in Iowa are eligible for free or reduced cost state run health insurance.  Many aren't taking advantage of it.

HAWK-I is designed to cover kids up to age 19, making sure all kids get the health care they need. However, the new year has brought some changes to the program.

Whether they're school age or not, kids get sick. Medical bills can be spendy but Iowa's insurance program for kids can make a big dent in the amount parent's pay. HAWK-I or Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa provides low-cost, and in many cases free insurance coverage.

"Pretty much any health care that they need, they have," HAWK-I coordinator Ivy Bremer said.

That includes medical, dental, even vision screenings.  But there have been some recent changes to the program.  As of January first, anyone on HAWK-I must show proof of citizenship and identity. That means they need to have a birth certificate or adoption certificate, naturalization papers or a passport to prove you're a u-s citizen.  To prove your identity, you can use a photo ID card, U.S. passport, or school records.

"They're trying to make sure the appropriate people are getting the insurance that they need, they want to make sure people dont abuse the system," Bremer said.

With recent changes, more people not only qualify for HAWK-I.  They're taking advantage of it. In July of last year, new federal guidelines expanded the coverage to include more families that make too much for medicaid.  But may not be able to afford health insurance for their kids.

That means a family of four making up to $33,000 a year can get HAWK-I coverage for free.  A family of four making up to $66,000 a year can qualify and pay less than $20 a month to insure a child.  The family won't ever pay more than $40 a month.

Bremer, says since the income guidelines expanded, enrollment has gone up.  Bremer says in July of last year there were 891 kids on the program in Woodbury County.  In six months time, that number is up by almost 150 kids.

Statewide, the number is up 3,400 in the same time frame.  Bremer says it's hard to know if that's because more kids are eligible, or if it's a sign of the economy.

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