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Deadline looms for Healthy Kids program

The Citrus County Health Department and state health officials are trying to get out the word: If residents want to enroll in the affordable health insurance program known as Healthy Kids, January is the time to sign up.

Healthy Kids is part of KidCare, the umbrella program designed to provide coverage for Florida children up to age 18.

It receives state and federal funding.

Healthy Kids generally is for children ages 5 to 18 who don't qualify for Medicaid because their families' incomes are too high, yet don't have private insurance because it's too expensive or because the parents' employers don't offer affordable coverage.

Premiums are based on household size and monthly income. Most families pay $15 or $20 each month.

In Citrus, the program became available in August 2000. Statewide, more than 250,000 children are enrolled.

Last year, the Legislature increased funding for Healthy Kids so more eligible children would be covered.

Lawmakers also implemented new guidelines to increase accountability for the program.

A 30-day open enrollment period runs through this month. Parents must complete and send a one-page application form _ complete with income documentation _ to Healthy Kids.

Applications are available at www.healthykids.org, by calling toll-free at 1-888-540-5437, or by stopping by a Health Department office: 3700 W Sovereign Path, Lecanto; 117 NW U.S. 19, Crystal River; and 120 N Montgomery Ave., Inverness.

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