Unemployed urged to get kids on QUEST
Unemployed families are urged to apply for free health coverage for their children through the state's QUEST or Medicaid programs, says Barbara Luksch, Hawaii Covering Kids project director.
Even children in a four-member family earning about $73,000 annually can qualify for the comprehensive state health insurance plan, she said.
The children's eligibility is based on household size, income and citizenship or immigration status, Luksch said.
Many families who have lost jobs through company closures or layoffs "are not used to being connected with government services," she said. "They are very confused about the messages they're getting."
For instance, she noted proposed legislation to provide temporary health insurance through Dec. 31 for children of Aloha Airlines workers who lost their jobs when the airline ceased operations March 31.
"We want to help all children," she said. It does not matter how the parents were laid off, she added, listing the rash of companies that have folded or reduced employees. "We really want all the kids eligible for QUEST to get enrolled in QUEST. It's comprehensive and completely free."
Another option is Keiki Care, a free insurance package with limited benefits funded by the state Department of Human Services and Hawaii Medical Service Association, she said.
It was established by the Legislature to help children who are not eligible for QUEST because of household income or immigration status.
QUEST health plans include AlohaCare, HMSA, Kaiser and Summerlin, and the application is simple, Luksch said.
Hawaii Covering Kids is a project of the Hawaii Primary Care Association. It is funded by AlohaCare, the Department of Human Services, the HMSA Foundation and NFL Pro Bowl Charities.
Parents and guardians can call 211 free from all islands to ask for a Med-QUEST application. The operator also will link families to an outreach worker for help with eligibility questions and forms.
Detailed information and the Med-QUEST application are available at http://www.coveringkids.com/community/.
For more information and an application for Keiki Care, call 948-5555 on Oahu or (800) 620-4672 from the neighbor islands.