As the above table shows, approximately 12.7% of the under-19 population in Florida is uninsured. While this compares favorably to competitor states like Texas and Georgia, it does fall a little short when compared against California and New York.
Having access to high-quality, affordable healthcare is one of the key indicators of not only physical health but economic health as well. One barrier to accessing healthcare can be a lack of health insurance. Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 48% of children without insurance have not visited the doctor within the past year, a rate that is nearly twice that of children with insurance.
To help combat this challenge, there are a few different avenues worth exploring. For example, working to upskill parents in the workforce and provide support in their efforts to secure more highly valued positions that offer employer sponsored health insurance coverage. Currently in Florida, 45.5% of the population is covered by employer-based health insurance options, the highest of any insurance category for which data is available. One program working to support career pathways for working parents is First Lady DeSantis’s Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity. This partnership, formed between the First Lady’s office, the Department of Children and Families, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce utilizes “Hope Navigators,” who work with parents receiving wrap around services to introduce them to employers seeking talent. To date, the program has supported thousands of working parents across Florida and has created a sustainable pathway to long-term employment for families in need.
It is also essential to expand awareness of existing programs that may be underutilized in Florida. For example, Florida Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), sometimes referred to as KidCare, was created to help soften the fiscal cliffs that exist when families are no longer eligible for Medicaid. This program covers uninsured children under 18, pregnant mothers, and primary care givers for children under 18. While the program is able to cover these families in need, it is of no use to those who may not be aware of its existence.
By working to ensure that all Florida children have access to high-quality healthcare and health insurance, we can support healthy living, and economic growth in all Florida communities.
To unite with the Florida Equality of Opportunity Initiative in its efforts to improve access to health resources on the path to prosperity in Florida, contact Zenani Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.