Mesa county has recently received national attention for the efficiency of our health care system and one local organization is stepping up their efforts even more to make sure every local child gets the health coverage they need. Many local families, dealing with the cost of health insurance can be stressful, especially when children are involved. Many simply can't afford it.
Jennifer Whitworth is a working, single mother of two and providing for her boys is always her biggest concern. Her two boys went without insurance for a year and a half because she didn't think there was help out there for people in her situation, who worked, but just can't afford it. "I really didn't think I would qualify," says Whitworth. She just recently turned to Hilltop's B4 Babies and Beyond program for help.
Cathy Story is the director of the program and her sole job is to help parents get the coverage they need for their children. Just recently Mesa county expanded the guidelines to help more families become qualified. For example, a family of four making up to 3 thousand dollars a month may still qualify. "We've raised the level to 205% of poverty level so many may be eligible and not even know it," says Story. This increased level can mean a different outcome for those who have applied in the past. "Come back and try again even if you tried 1 or 2 years ago, you might qualify now," says Story.
The application process can be difficult and sometimes time consuming,
but that's what Cathy and her team say they are there for. "They held my hand and walked me through it" says Whitworth. Parents get answers the same day instead of weeks. "We do the math to see of you are eligible or not, you will know when you walk out of here," says Story. They will also issue you a temporary card if qualified so you don't have to wait until the paperwork is filed. "So you can get you child in the next week instead of a month which is how long the application process usually takes," says Story. Which for most parents, takes a hugh burden off their shoulders. "I can sleep at night knowing my kids are protected," says Whitworth.
Hilltop says if you plan to come in to see if you qualify, call ahead and they can tell you all the paperwork you need bring with you to make sure the process goes quickly.