State offers expanded health care insurance coverage for children

As of June 1, many Washington state families have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of their children through the Children's Health Program - yet it's likely that many of them do not know of the opportunity or how to take advantage of it.

Earlier this year, advocates for children's health celebrated when Gov. Chris Gregoire signed historic bipartisan legislation that brought Washington one giant step closer to the goal of covering all children by 2010. The law and the budget that backs it up will provide access to nearly 50,000 of the state's currently uninsured children. A significant part of that investment is an expansion of the Children's Health Program.

The expanded program covers children with parents earning up to 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level annually - $51,625 for a family of four - and including children in working families. All children living in Washington under the age of 19 within these financial parameters are eligible to receive comprehensive health coverage, regardless of their place of birth. And parents can sign their children up for July coverage now.

Families may receive an application and help over the phone by calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW (or 877-543-7669). Or contact your local community health clinic or local public health office. Or, to find out if your family qualifies and to fill out an application online, visit[[In-content Ad]]