The Children's Health Initiative (CHI) of Greater Los Angeles is a public-private coalition seeking to keep kids healthy and ensure that every child has access to health care coverage. The CHI convened in May 2003 by L.A. Care Health Plan, The California Endowment, and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. The Coalition is comprised of over 50 organizations including healthcare providers, private employers, business leaders, advocacy groups, foundations, public health officials, labor unions and educators. The CHI's approach to expanding health care coverage has three components:
- Increase enrollment of children in existing public programs -- e.g. Medi-Cal.
- Provide a three-year expansion of the Healthy Kids product to children ages 6-18.
- Pursue policy solutions to sustain affordable health coverage for children over time.
In April 2004, the Coalition launched a three-year expansion of the Healthy Kids program to children ages 6-18. The coverage program offers low-cost health, dental and vision coverage to children ineligible for public programs due to family income, at or below 300% of the federal poverty level, or immigration status. Healthy Kids began in July 2003 targeting children from birth to age five as a five-year effort funded by First 5 LA, a local commission established by the 1998 Proposition 10 cigarette tax measure.
The CHI not only achieved its three-year commitment guaranteeing coverage to existing Healthy Kids members through March 2007, but surpassed it. Both the Healthy Kids 0-5 and 6-18 programs have been extended far beyond their original targets. First 5 LA has approved funding for enrollment of children from birth to age 5 for an additional five years through June 2015. The Healthy Kids 6-18 Program has continued an additional five years and is currently funded through March 1, 2013.
The CHI raised more than $150 million to cover Healthy Kids 6-18 premiums. These donors include: L.A. Care Health Plan, The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Centinela Medical Care Fund, QueensCare, Weingart Foundation, the California Community Foundation, the Good Hope Medical Foundation, and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.
We remain deeply committed to the health and well-being of these young people and have secured commitments from many Healthy Kids network providers as well as community partners to ensure that families will continue to have access to free or low cost health care. The CHI Coalition will also continue to work to identify coverage options for the very vulnerable populations not part of the Federal healthcare expansion under the Affordable Care Act.