Features

Web site helps low-income families with health insurance

The Associated Press
Wednesday June 13, 2001

The first Web-based application in the nation allowing low-income children and pregnant women to enroll in public health insurance programs was announced Tuesday by Gov. Gray Davis. 

“Health-e-App is the first automated program in the country to allow people to apply to the Healthy Families Program,” Davis said at a news conference held in a community health center in San Francisco’s Chinatown. 

Davis has requested $2.1 million to make the program, available in Spanish and English, available statewide. It was tested in San Diego in January. 

The Governor’s current year budget includes $800,000 for Heath-e-App technical infrastructure. Governor Davis included $1.3 million in the 2001-2002 Budget to fund statewide implementation of Health-e-App over the next year. 

Health-e-App allows the electronic transmission of the application, signature, and supporting documents to the appropriate public health insurance programs for final processing and determination of eligibility. 

Applicants receive a confirmation that their application has been received by the state for either the Healthy Families Program, which covers children, or Medi-Cal. 

Whereas the current paperwork process can take from 45 minutes to an hour, officials said the Health-e-App enrollment process should take less than 30 minutes, depending on the size of the family. 

The pilot program was tested by six community-based organizations in San Diego County. 

Health-e-App was developed by the California HealthCare Foundation in partnership with the State of California. The Foundation provided $1 million in funding to develop and test the new process. 

The Healthy Families Program is a state and federally funded health coverage program for children in families with incomes above the level eligible for Medi-Cal and below 250 percent of the federal income guidelines ($36,576 for a family of three.) 

Some 21,000 community-based assistants who currently provide families with free help in completing the paper version of the joint Healthy Families Program/Medi-Cal for Children application are being trained to assist families with the new online application. 

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On the Net: 

http://www.healtheapp.org 

http://www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov/