The Cruz family had been using the Florida KidCare program for their two oldest children without major incidents since 2007. Overall, the family was happy with the program and very happy to have the peace of mind of having affordable health insurance for their kids.
However, during the initial months of being in the program, Maria noticed that premium payments she had made were not appearing in her account. And on August 18, 2008, Maria received a letter from Florida KidCare informing her that insurance coverage for her two children would end on August 31, 2008. The stated purpose of the cancellation was for “non-payment.”
Immediately, Maria began contacting Florida KidCare for an explanation. After many calls to the customer service number and submitting bank statements, and a letter from the bank, proving an accurate and timely payment had been made Maria could still not get an answer as to why her account was cancelled.
To make matters worse, according to the cancellation letter, the Cruz children’s account could not be reactivated for 90 days. Knowing the non-payment claim was an error bothered Maria, but she was completely aghast that the Florida KidCare mistake would keep her children uninsured for up to three months. Maria said, “They were still giving me the runaround as to why it had to stay cancelled.”
As Maria was trying to coverage reinstated for her daughters, she was also having to cancel and postpone three long-standing and needed appointments with specialists. One of the children was experiencing significant health issues at the very moment Florida Kid had incorrectly dropped the Cruz children.
In searching for solutions, Maria reached out to Florida CHAIN. Through CHAIN, Maria was put in touch with upper levels of management at Florida Healthy Kids and the coverage was eventually reinstated in November—after all of her appointments for her daughter had been canceled.
“I was really frustrated, as a mother. I was paying on time every month,” Maria said. She said that she was the one paying (she was utilizing the full-pay option for one of her children), so she didn’t understand why her children were not getting the coverage she paid for. In February 2009, the family took advantage of the opportunity to get private health insurance. “When my husband and I started working again and we had access to health insurance, we took advantage of that instead of KidCare.”
Maria said about her decision to switch: “I had no issues with the program in terms of the doctors and the care we got. It was the customer service and getting the errors corrected that was so challenging and frustrating. They (KidCare) made me do a lot of extra work and put (us) through a rough time. It was just a sequence of things that made me drop (Florida KidCare) when we had the chance to get private insurance through an employer.”