Florida expands health insurance to 17,000 immigrant children

Florida state legislators ditched a five-year waiting period required for immigrant children to gain eligibility for state health insurance, Naples Daily News reported.

Effective July 1, approximately 17,000 legal immigrant children became eligible for Medicaid or other state health plans. Based on family income, some affected children ages 5 to 19 became eligible for a subsidy through the government-sponsored insurance program Florida Healthy Kids as well.

Florida became the 31st state to enact the provision of federal law — known as the Legal Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act — after Gov. Rick Scott lifted the five-year wait in March, Naples Daily News reported.

With more children insured, emergency Medicaid service costs will decline. State cost saving is one of the reasons the provisions passed in Florida, according to the report.

Florida will receive about $31 million in federal matching aid to fund the program, and the maximum cost to the state will be $553,000, according to Naples Daily News

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