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Kids Care is back after six-year freeze

In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, a pediatrician performs yearly check for radioactive elements of Oksana Zabeylo, 10, in a hospital in Ivankiv, Ukraine. After the April 26, 1986 explosion and fire spewed radioactive fallout over much of Ukraine, the most heavily affected areas were classified into four zones. Last year, as the national economy deteriorated sharply, the government cut off paying for school lunches for children living in the fourth zone, not contaminated enough for resettlement but eligible for subsidies to help with health issues. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

Kids Care is back. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or “CHIP” is open after being suspended six years ago.

Arizona cut the Kids Care program in 2010 when money was tight. Now, the federal government is funding it 100 percent.

Arizona State Representative Regina Cobb pushed for legislation that eventually got Kids Care re-instated.

“As long as the kids are healthy, and they have a good health plan and a good dental plan, they perform better in school,” said Cobb.

Cobb said this should have been done a long time. She said when she was asked to sponsor the legislation, it was a “no-brainer” for her because that was something that needed to be done.

“If you’re the only state that does not have a children’s health insurance plan, how does that make your state look? And, so, I think that this is a huge economic driver for us, too,” said Cobb.

Arizona had been the only state not participating in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Now, all 50 states provide CHIP coverage to any eligible child who applies.

The state is accepting new applications, starting today, for children up to the age of 18.

There are income limits. A family must have income above 133 percent up to and including 200 percent of the federal poverty (FPL) to be eligible to enroll in the state’s CHIP.

Premiums are based on family income, and some services require co-pays.

Children will be able to access services beginning September 1, 2016.

Families interested in learning more about how to enroll can visit their website or call 1-855-HEA-PLUS (1-855-432-7587).