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Where you live matters for your health.
The health of any population is determined by several factors including the physical, emotional, socioeconomic, and environmental circumstances in which they live.
For U.S. Latinos, these factors can be daily challenges and cause poor health outcomes, especially for their children.
As a result, Latino children have higher rates of obesity and diabetes and lower levels of physical activity than their non-Latino peers. These inequities are worsening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
These children also are at least twice as likely to be uninsured.
“To help reverse these outcomes, it is important for Latino children and youth to enroll in health coverage and have access to preventive care. Children who have health coverage are shown to have better developmental outcomes, educational gains and long-term economic well-being,” according to the federal Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign.
How Can More Latino Children Get Healthcare Access?
Through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Latino kids can get the immunizations, regular check-ups, eye exams, dental visits, mental health services, prescriptions and other care they need to thrive at school and in life.
Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost health insurance for children in families with low and moderate incomes.
Each state varies in the name of the program, eligibility requirements and services offered.
What Are Some Heavily Latino States Doing to Improve Healthcare Access for Children?
California (39.4% Latino). Medi-Cal is free or low-cost health coverage for all children regardless of immigration status in the state of California. Essential health benefits include outpatient (ambulatory) services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, prescription drugs, physical and occupational therapy, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, and oral and vision care.
To find out if you qualify, you can visit your local county human services agency or over the phone by calling (800) 300-1506. You can also visit CoveredCA.com.
Texas (39.7% Latino). Children in Texas without health insurance may be able to get free or low-cost health coverage from the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Children’s Medicaid. Both programs cover office visits, prescription drugs, dental care, eye exams, glasses and much more.
To apply, call 2-1-1. Pick a language and then press 2.
Florida (26.4% Latino). Through Florida KidCare, the state offers health insurance for children from birth on up. Some of the services Florida KidCare covers include doctor visits, check-ups and shots, hospitalizations, surgery, prescriptions, emergencies, vision and hearing screenings, dental work, and mental health.
For more information about Florida KidCare or how to apply, go online to www.floridakidcare.org or call toll-free 1-888-540-5437 (KIDS). You can also search here for local community partners to assist with applications.
All three states have resources available in Spanish to make it easy for families to enroll. Visit HealthCare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov to find Medicaid and CHIP eligibility information for your state.
Where Can You Find Out More about Getting Healthcare or Other Help?
Insure Kids Now in English and Spanish has readily accessible information on health coverage for children. They feature an interactive coverage map by state. They also have a phone number where families can get information: 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669).
Families can apply any time for Medicaid and CHIP coverage for children and parents. To learn more, call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or visit HealthCare.gov.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also has state fact sheets that highlight how Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections work to support and improve children’s health. You can use these fact sheets as advocacy tools to explain the importance of these programs.
For additional help with social services amid COVID-19, visit FindHelp.org.
Erinne Gray created FindHelp.org, a coronavirus-specific version of AuntBertha.com. The website is the nation’s only digital platform that makes it free and easy for anyone to search any U.S. ZIP code and find and apply for all kinds of social services, such as food assistance, housing, jobs, and medical care.
“The problem we’re trying to solve is the information gap,” Gray told Salud America!. “The nonprofits are doing the heavy lifting, offering help and getting people enrolled. We’re making sure people can find them.”
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