Children's affordable health coverage — Authority duties.
(1) Consistent with the goals established in RCW 74.09.402, through the apple health for kids program authorized in this section, the authority shall provide affordable health care coverage to children under the age of nineteen who reside in Washington state and whose family income at the time of enrollment is not greater than two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level as adjusted for family size and determined annually by the federal department of health and human services, and effective January 1, 2009, and only to the extent that funds are specifically appropriated therefor, to children whose family income is not greater than three hundred percent of the federal poverty level. In administering the program, the authority shall take such actions as may be necessary to ensure the receipt of federal financial participation under the medical assistance program, as codified at Title XIX of the federal social security act, the state children's health insurance program, as codified at Title XXI of the federal social security act, and any other federal funding sources that are now available or may become available in the future. The authority and the caseload forecast council shall estimate the anticipated caseload and costs of the program established in this section.
(2) The authority shall accept applications for enrollment for children's health care coverage; establish appropriate minimum-enrollment periods, as may be necessary; and determine eligibility based on current family income. The authority shall make eligibility determinations within the time frames for establishing eligibility for children on medical assistance, as defined by RCW 74.09.510. The application and annual renewal processes shall be designed to minimize administrative barriers for applicants and enrolled clients, and to minimize gaps in eligibility for families who are eligible for coverage. If a change in family income results in a change in the source of funding for coverage, the authority shall transfer the family members to the appropriate source of funding and notify the family with respect to any change in premium obligation, without a break in eligibility. The authority shall use the same eligibility redetermination and appeals procedures as those provided for children on medical assistance programs. The authority shall modify its eligibility renewal procedures to lower the percentage of children failing to annually renew. The authority shall manage its outreach, application, and renewal procedures with the goals of: (a) Achieving year by year improvements in enrollment, enrollment rates, renewals, and renewal rates; (b) maximizing the use of existing program databases to obtain information related to earned and unearned income for purposes of eligibility determination and renewals, including, but not limited to, the basic food program, the child care subsidy program, federal social security administration programs, and the employment security department wage database; (c) streamlining renewal processes to rely primarily upon data matches, online submissions, and telephone interviews; and (d) implementing any other eligibility determination and renewal processes to allow the state to receive an enhanced federal matching rate and additional federal outreach funding available through the federal children's health insurance program reauthorization act of 2009 by January 2010. The department shall advise the governor and the legislature regarding the status of these efforts by September 30, 2009. The information provided should include the status of the department's efforts, the anticipated impact of those efforts on enrollment, and the costs associated with that enrollment.
(3) To ensure continuity of care and ease of understanding for families and health care providers, and to maximize the efficiency of the program, the amount, scope, and duration of health care services provided to children under this section shall be the same as that provided to children under medical assistance, as defined in RCW 74.09.520.
(4) The primary mechanism for purchasing health care coverage under this section shall be through contracts with managed health care systems as defined in RCW 74.09.522, subject to conditions, limitations, and appropriations provided in the biennial appropriations act. However, the authority shall make every effort within available resources to purchase health care coverage for uninsured children whose families have access to dependent coverage through an employer-sponsored health plan or another source when it is cost-effective for the state to do so, and the purchase is consistent with requirements of Title XIX and Title XXI of the federal social security act. To the extent allowable under federal law, the authority shall require families to enroll in available employer-sponsored coverage, as a condition of participating in the program established under this section, when it is cost-effective for the state to do so. Families who enroll in available employer- sponsored coverage under this section shall be accounted for separately in the annual report required by RCW 74.09.053.
(5)(a) To reflect appropriate parental responsibility, the authority shall develop and implement a schedule of premiums for children's health care coverage due to the authority from families with income greater than two hundred percent of the federal poverty level. For families with income greater than two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level, the premiums shall be established in consultation with the senate majority and minority leaders and the speaker and minority leader of the house of representatives. For children eligible for coverage under the federally funded children's health insurance program, Title XXI of the federal social security act, premiums shall be set at a reasonable level that does not pose a barrier to enrollment. The amount of the premium shall be based upon family income and shall not exceed the premium limitations in Title XXI of the federal social security act. For children who are not eligible for coverage under the federally funded children's health insurance program, premiums shall be set every two years in an amount no greater than the average state-only share of the per capita cost of coverage in the state-funded children's health program.
(b) Premiums shall not be imposed on children in households at or below two hundred percent of the federal poverty level as articulated in RCW 74.09.055.
(c) Beginning no later than January 1, 2010, the authority shall offer families whose income is greater than three hundred percent of the federal poverty level the opportunity to purchase health care coverage for their children through the programs administered under this section without an explicit premium subsidy from the state. The design of the health benefit package offered to these children should provide a benefit package substantially similar to that offered in the apple health for kids program, and may differ with respect to cost-sharing, and other appropriate elements from that provided to children under subsection (3) of this section including, but not limited to, application of preexisting conditions, waiting periods, and other design changes needed to offer affordable coverage. The amount paid by the family shall be in an amount equal to the rate paid by the state to the managed health care system for coverage of the child, including any associated and administrative costs to the state of providing coverage for the child. Any pooling of the program enrollees that results in state fiscal impact must be identified and brought to the legislature for consideration.
(6) The authority shall undertake and continue a proactive, targeted outreach and education effort with the goal of enrolling children in health coverage and improving the health literacy of youth and parents. The authority shall collaborate with the department of social and health services, department of health, local public health jurisdictions, the office of the superintendent of public instruction, the department of early learning, health educators, health care providers, health carriers, community-based organizations, and parents in the design and development of this effort. The outreach and education effort shall include the following components:
(a) Broad dissemination of information about the availability of coverage, including media campaigns;
(b) Assistance with completing applications, and community-based outreach efforts to help people apply for coverage. Community-based outreach efforts should be targeted to the populations least likely to be covered;
(c) Use of existing systems, such as enrollment information from the free and reduced-price lunch program, the department of early learning child care subsidy program, the department of health's women, infants, and children program, and the early childhood education and assistance program, to identify children who may be eligible but not enrolled in coverage;
(d) Contracting with community-based organizations and government entities to support community-based outreach efforts to help families apply for coverage. These efforts should be targeted to the populations least likely to be covered. The authority shall provide informational materials for use by government entities and community-based organizations in their outreach activities, and should identify any available federal matching funds to support these efforts;
(e) Development and dissemination of materials to engage and inform parents and families statewide on issues such as: The benefits of health insurance coverage; the appropriate use of health services, including primary care provided by health care practitioners licensed under chapters 18.71, 18.57, 18.36A, and 18.79 RCW, and emergency services; the value of a medical home, well-child services and immunization, and other preventive health services with linkages to department of health child profile efforts; identifying and managing chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes; and the value of good nutrition and physical activity;
(f) An evaluation of the outreach and education efforts, based upon clear, cost-effective outcome measures that are included in contracts with entities that undertake components of the outreach and education effort;
(g) An implementation plan to develop online application capability that is integrated with the automated client eligibility system, and to develop data linkages with the office of the superintendent of public instruction for free and reduced-price lunch enrollment information and the department of early learning for child care subsidy program enrollment information.
(7) The authority shall take action to increase the number of primary care physicians providing dental disease preventive services including oral health screenings, risk assessment, family education, the application of fluoride varnish, and referral to a dentist as needed.
(8) The department shall monitor the rates of substitution between private-sector health care coverage and the coverage provided under this section.
[2011 1st sp.s. c 33 § 2; 2011 1st sp.s. c 15 § 21; 2009 c 463 § 2; 2007 c 5 § 2.]
| Reviser's note: Chapter 33, Laws of 2011 1st sp.s. took effect April 1, 2011, but amended 2011 1st sp.s. c 15, which took effect July 1, 2011.|
Contingent effective dates -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 33: "(1) Section 1 of this act takes effect if section 21, chapter 15, Laws of 2011 1st sp. sess. is not enacted into law.
(2) Section 2 of this act takes effect if section 21, chapter 15, Laws of 2011 1st sp. sess. is enacted into law." [2011 1st sp.s. c 33 § 3.]
Effective date -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 33: "Subject to section 3 of this act, this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect April 1, 2011." [2011 1st sp.s. c 33 § 4.]
Effective date -- Findings -- Intent -- Report -- Agency transfer -- References to head of health care authority -- Draft legislation -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 15: See notes following RCW 74.09.010.
Findings -- Intent -- 2009 c 463: "The legislature finds that substantial progress has been made toward achieving the equally important goals set in 2007 that all children in Washington state have health care coverage by 2010 and that child health outcomes improve. The legislature also finds that continued steps are necessary to reach the goals that all children in Washington state shall have access to the health services they need to be healthy and ready to learn and that key measures of child health outcomes will show year by year improvement. The legislature further finds that reaching these goals is integral to the state's ability to weather the current economic crisis. The recent reauthorization of the federal children's health insurance program provides additional opportunities for the state to reach these goals. In view of these important objectives, the legislature intends that the apple health for kids program be managed actively across administrations in the department of social and health services, and across state and local agencies, with clear accountability for achieving the intended program outcomes. The legislature further intends that the department continue the implementation of the apple health for kids program with a commitment to fully utilizing the new program identity with appropriate materials." [2009 c 463 § 1.]
Short title -- 2009 c 463: "This act may be known and cited as the apple health for kids act." [2009 c 463 § 5.]