For more information on HealthWave:
Contact the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Pat Satterlee at Heart of Kansas Family Health Care, 1905 19th St., Great Bend, or call 620-792-5700, ext. 125. She is available from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
KAC to hold HealthWave drive
Kansas Action for Children will sponsor the 2011 Community Harvest of Wellness Fair from 6:30-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Hoisington Activity Center. KAC will work with Pat Satterlee of the Department of Health and Environment to enroll eligible children in HealthWave. For more information, contact KAC at 785-232-0550 or by visiting kac.org.
It’s a tough number to get a handle on, but Kansas Action for Children estimates there are 75,000 children in the state without health insurance.
That’s the bad news. The good news is most of them probably don’t have to be, said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Pat Satterlee.
Working out of Heart of Kansas Family Health Care in Great Bend, Satterlee is one of 12 out-stationed eligibility specialists for the KDHE’s Division of Health Care Finance which administers the state’s HealthWave insurance. Covering nine counties, she is an apostle for a program that brings affordable insurance to needy Kansas families.
“There are so many families that are eligible that don’t know they are eligible,” she said. These could even include two-income households.
To Bolster HealthWave’s profile, KAC has launched a campaign in Barton, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Montgomery and Reno counties. The goal of the drive, which includes public service announcements in the media, is to increase participation.
“Having health insurance is so important for children,” said Mary Miles, Heart of Kansas’ chief executive officer. “Taking steps now to make sure your kids are healthy and happy can prevent serious lifelong illnesses down the road. We want to all eligible parents to be aware of this great program and to sign up for HealthWave coverage.”
There are a lot of variables, but HealthWave coverage is primarily for children from birth through age 18, as well as pregnant women. The cost, based on income and household size, varies from nothing to a monthly premium ranging from $20-75. The premium covers all children in the home.
There are times, Satterlee said, that an entire family can be covered. But, this is just a temporary, stop-gap measure if, for example, the primary breadwinner lost their job. In this case, the monthly take-home pay for a family of three can’t be more than $386.
“It’s not designed to cover adults,” she said. “We want to keep our children healthy and in school.”
Basically, Satterlee advises parents that if their children qualify for free or reduced lunches at school, they should apply for HealthWave. The National School Lunch Program covers kids in families up to 185 of the federal poverty level and HealthWave covers up to 238 percent.
For free or reduced lunches, the Kansas Department of Education guidelines set the maximum income for a family of three at $34,281.
In Great Bend’s Unified School District 428, 61 percent of the student body qualify for lunch support, or around 1,900 students.
“If anyone has any questions, they can come and see me,” Satterlee said. Unlike calling the state office in Topeka where a request takes a while to process, Satterlee can make a determination locally.
She also encourages employers to mention HealthWave to their employees.
Established by the Kansas Legislature in 1998, HealthWave provides health coverage to uninsured children who belong to low-income families and do not qualify for Medicaid. It is funded through a combination of state and federal money.
HealthWave applications are available at the Heart of Kansas, and also at local schools, hospitals, libraries, churches and other social services providers. A downloadable application and information about eligibility, including income guidelines, are available at www.healthykskids.com.