The Health Access for All Children Initiative was created in part as a result of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) study that First 5 California co-sponsored in order to get a snapshot of the health status of California's youngest residents. Conducted in 2001 by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities, the CHIS identified the needs and current health status of California's 0 to 5 population and
found differences that exist between certain ethnic
and income subgroups when it comes to health and
access to healthcare.
Here are some important findings from this and other studies:
- More than one in 10 California children ages 0 to 5 are uninsured or had a gap in health coverage in the past year.
- In California, only 49.7 percent of children ages 0 to 5 are considered to be in excellent health; roughly 25 percent are in less than optimum health.
- In 2001, only 76 percent of Latino children under 3 years old were immunized.
- The rate of immunization in California is below the national average.
- One in five young African American children has been diagnosed with asthma.
- Children in rural areas are more than twice as likely to be uninsured and to delay or forego needed health care.
- Being unable to afford health insurance is not just an issue for the very poor. Many working families making $55,000 a year cannot afford health care for their children.
The Health Access for All Children Initiative helps link parents to the variety of insurance programs available to California children. It is estimated that three-quarters of the State's uninsured children qualify for programs like Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, but are unaware of them. First 5
California provides matching funds to the counties to educate parents and caregivers and enroll children into Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.
The State Commission is also providing matching funds to counties for an expanded health insurance program called Healthy Kids. This program is designed to insure California children who do not qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families. Through matching funds, the State Commission helps pay for part of the Healthy Kids health insurance premiums for these children. First 5 California has committed nearly $50 million to this effort, and will provide the County Commissions with $1 for every $4 they invest in their Healthy Kids health insurance program.
First 5 California's Access for All Children
Initiative expands coverage for uninsured California
children by creating programs with more flexible
Due to California's high cost of living, many families who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families still earn too little to be able to afford health insurance. Therefore, First 5 programs include children whose families earn up to 300 percent of the FPL (or $58,050 for a family of four). In addition, since uninsured, undocumented children typically have to resort to the emergency room to receive care, First 5 programs are available to all children, regardless of immigration status.