Governor Chet Culver and the head of the Department of Human Services are embarking on a renewed effort to get more Iowa kids enrolled in a state program that provides free or subsidized health insurance. Culver’s making appearances today in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids to tout the "Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa" or HAWK-I program.
"We have good news and bad news related to kids’ health care. The good news is we’re number two in the nation right now overall, but we want to be number one in terms of covering kids. More than 90 percent of Iowa’s kids have health care (coverage)," Culver says. "The bad news is you’re still talking about 20,000 to 25,000 eligible children in Iowa who aren’t signed up for whatever reason."
Culver’s predecessor, Governor Tom Vilsack, also led efforts to enroll more uninsured kids in HAWK-I and the budget plan Culver presented to lawmakers last week includes money to provide HAWK-I coverage to about 7,500 more kids.
"Really urge parents to double- and triple-check to see if their child is eligible," Culver says. The majority of kids who’re eligible for the government-subsidized insurance are in Iowa’s urban areas, according to Culver, but he says there too many uninsured children in rural Iowa, too.
"I think a new, aggressive campaign will help in terms of increasing the number of children and families that sign up," Culver says. In the past year, only 1,000 of the estimated 25,000 children who’re eligible for HAWK-I have been enrolled by their parents or legal guardians. Culver made his comments during an interview with Radio Iowa.