percent of the federal poverty level) will be identified through a collaboration with schools as well as through a partnership with the Health Insurance Plan of California (HIPC).

The program's outreach will be conducted in conjunction with state enrollment efforts for "Healthy Families" and Medi-Cal. Kaiser Permanente will refer children who are not eligible for its program to other sources of coverage. Children enrolled in "Kaiser Permanente Cares for Kids" will receive a comprehensive benefit package, including inpatient and outpatient services, prescription drugs, and vision care. Families will pay a sliding scale premium. Two demonstration projects will be established to explore models of collaboration between schools and Kaiser Permanente to enhance health service delivery for children. Coverage is expected to begin in September 1998.

To enhance its initiative in California, Kaiser Permanente has assembled a statewide coalition to provide a coordinated policy forum to address the problem of the remaining uninsured children in the state. Other businesses and health plans are being approached to participate, and long-term plans include working with legislators to develop and secure the passage of legislation to expand access to coverage.

The "Kaiser Permanente Cares About Kids" initiative is part of a broader national effort by Kaiser Permanente to provide subsidized health care for low-income children. In Denver, Colorado, Kaiser Permanente has committed to covering up to 1,300 low-income children through a pilot program called "School Connections," in which eligible children will be able to receive health care at school-based health centers or at Kaiser Permanente's medical offices. In Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, Kaiser Permanente has developed partnerships with county government, hospitals, and other providers to cover up to 3,200 low-income uninsured children, with Kaiser Permanente providing the majority of the subsidy. Beginning in 1999, Kaiser Permanente will increase its funding for subsidized care, including an additional $10 million allocated to covering uninsured children in other Kaiser Permanente divisions, for a total of $30 million being devoted to covering uninsured children.

Children's Programs in Other Health Plans

In addition to Caring Programs and Kaiser Permanente, several other insurers and health plans across the country have smaller children's health initiatives (AAHP, 1997). Many of these initiatives involve partnerships with state departments of health, hospitals, advocacy groups, and other health plans. They include immunization campaigns, programs designed to improve access to care, health education, and child safety and violence prevention programs.

Among the initiatives are the following:

  • Medica, a subsidiary of Allina Health System, uses multidisciplinary teams to help diagnose and treat children with chronic illnesses and disabilities, and allows pulmonologists to be designated as gatekeepers for children who are under their care.
  • Mercy Health Plan, Pennsylvania's largest network model health plan for Medicaid beneficiaries, has an educational program for children with asthma to improve routine and primary care and reduce emergency room use.
  • OmniCare Health Plan has developed a partnership with the Detroit Department of Health and a school-based health program to provide primary care examinations, health education activities, and immunization fairs for students and their families.
  • UniHealth in southern California provides vaccinations at community-based clinics and in schools and churches.
  • United Health Care of Ohio provides free immunizations to children living in Franklin County, Ohio.

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