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FIRST 5 LA Commission Approves $27 Million To Fund Children's Health Insurance

LOS ANGELES --------- The First 5 LA Commission today approved a multi-year grant of $27 million to continue providing low-or-no cost health insurance to thousands of children age 5 and younger in Los Angeles County. The youngsters to be insured are not eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families insurance.

The Healthy Kids Initiative will be funded through 2015 with annual allocations of $4 million to L.A. Care and $4.6 million to L.A. County Department of Public Health for program implementation.

Healthy Kids insurance covers a comprehensive benefits package of medical, mental health, dental and vision care with nearly 30,000 children enrolling over the past eight years.

"The Commission's grant to L.A. Care and the L.A. County Department of Public Health will help meet vitally important health care needs and strengthen the county's health care safety net for its most vulnerable population, young children under the age of 5," said First 5 LA Commission Chair and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "First 5 LA's financial support is critical if we are to give children the best opportunity possible to be healthy and successful in life."

Since 2003, First 5 LA has maintained strategic partnerships with both L.A. Care Health Plan to cover the cost of medical care for families enrolling in the Healthy Kids insurance program and the L.A. County Department of Public Health to manage the outreach, enrollment, and retention of coverage for the 0 to 5 population.

Adding support to the Healthy Kids Initiative, DPH enrolls children not only in Healthy Kids, but also Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and other plans for which they may be eligible to ensure coverage is maintained and utilized. Recent studies by the Urban Institute and the Center for Community Health Studies show that such coverage and access to health care has resulted in statistically significant drops in avoidable hospitalizations saving tax dollars.

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