Healthy Kids supports working families in our community.
Stacie, 28, works as a manager for a locally owned restaurant. She is a single mom to six year old Logan. When she was pregnant with Logan she qualified for Medi-cal, which now also covers her son. Stacie values the access to routine medical care that Medi-Cal provides to Logan.
“At a two year check up, I took Logan to the doctor and found out he had two ear infections - one in each ear. I didn’t even know!” she exclaimed. “He didn’t have any symptoms; he wasn’t pulling on his ears or feverish or anything. But because we had coverage, I was able to take him to the doctor for his regular check-up and they found the infections and put him on antibiotics before it caused more serious problems.”
Michele, 29, is the general manager for a local landscaping company. Like most active 10-year olds, her daughter, Taylor, is routinely scraping and bruising herself during soccer and cheerleading. “Taylor didn’t have health insurance for five years. It sounds crazy, but I basically told Taylor that she couldn’t get sick.” At one point, Michele took Taylor to a physician friend who provided care at no cost.
Then Michele found out about Healthy Kids via a local newspaper and her daughter says, “Now that I have health insurance I feel much safer because I know that my mom has help paying the doctor bills.” Being on the Healthy Kids program has allowed Taylor to enjoy pursuing the activities she loves, like snowboarding, skating, biking, and running, without fear of getting hurt.
Katy Boriack, 28, isn’t one to complain and considers herself lucky. She has a good job with a locally-owned company in Santa Cruz, earning $34,000 annually. Her company offers her health insurance and is supportive of her efforts to finish college. Katy has an AA degree, but is taking classes at Cabrillo College with the hope of transferring to the University of California Santa Cruz to receive a degree in environmental studies.
When her son, Ayden, was born, Katy learned that adding him to her health plan would increase her insurance premium from $80 a month for individual coverage to $350 a month (roughly 20% of her monthly income). As a single mom, Katy pays $800 a month in child care costs in addition to food, living and other basic expenses. She knew that paying $4,200 a year for health insurance was not feasible, so she faced the improbability of finding a cheaper place to live, or simply foregoing health insurance for her son.
Then Katy learned about Healthy Kids Santa Cruz County. Healthy Kids benefits parents like Katy, who earn too much to qualify for public programs, such as Healthy Families or Medi-Cal, yet not enough to afford the high cost of coverage offered through her employer.
Thanks to Healthy Kids Santa Cruz County, two-year old Ayden receives regular care from a local dentist and pediatrician which give Katy the comfort of knowing Ayden is healthy and taken care of, so she can focus on finishing her education and providing for her family.
Rosa and Galdino Hernandez and their three children, ages 7, 10 and 13, were dropped from Healthy Families when their income from the family’s jewelry business exceeded the program’s eligibility requirements. “We went without any health insurance for more than a year,” said Galdino.
“Then we found out about Healthy Kids and enrolled our children.” Rosa and Galdino pay nearly $500 a month in health insurance premiums for themselves. “Many families who can’t afford insurance simply stop going to the doctors,” said Rosa. “When their health problems get worse, they go to emergency rooms and the State ends up paying more for their care.”
Natalia, 23, is a psychology student at UC Santa Cruz who works part time with autistic children. Like many other students, Natalia cannot afford health insurance for herself or for her two-year old daughter, Aine.
This year Aine became sick with a debilitating food borne illness. When the disease attacked her kidneys and pancreas, Aine was hospitalized at Stanford University Hospital. Aine was placed on kidney dialyses and for two weeks and fought for her life. Natalia said that without Medi-Cal coverage, Aine would have died. “No parent should have to go through that,” she said.
“No parent should have to choose between healthcare and their children’s health care bills.” Aine has recovered from her illness and is now a happy and healthy two-year old. Natalia worries what will happen if she ever loses her Medi-Cal coverage, since Aine now has a preexisting condition. For now, however, she is simply relieved that their ordeal is over.
Rachael, 29, and her husband Aaron, 32, just gave birth to beautiful identical twin boys, Evan and Cameron. Aaron works as the manager for a small locally owned bicycle business, which only provides coverage for himself and his wife. It would cost an additional $600 per month to add their sons to their plan, an expense that the couple just can’t afford.
When Rachael was pregnant she found out about Healthy Families through a friend, and feels extremely fortunate to have qualified for the program. Without Healthy Families coverage, Rachael and Aaron would be facing steep medical bills.
Like many other twin babies, when Evan and Cameron were born they were underweight and needed special care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Dominican Hospital. “These are million dollar children,” reflects Rachael. “We love our sons, and would do anything for them but what a relief not to have to deal with huge debt in order to ensure their survival!”
There are no pre-existing conditions for Healthy Kids.
Erin, 28, is a medical biller for a medium-size group practice in Watsonville. She lives with her mother and is going to school for medical coding. A single parent, Erin has health coverage for herself through her job, but can’t afford the cost of adding her son, Damien, 6, onto her plan. Erin also earns too much to qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families programs.
At one point, Erin researched private health insurance for Damien, who attends Starlight Elementary School. However, because he was born with a congenital abnormality, the insurance plan considered him to have a pre-existing condition, and wouldn’t cover him. "Damien is very healthy," said Erin, "He’s very active. He loves soccer and baseball and he’s never really been sick".
A co-worker told Erin about Healthy Kids, for which Damien qualified. Now Damien has access to regular pediatric care, including dental and vision services. "I think all kids should be covered, no matter what," said Erin. "Because they’re kids."
Donna, 46, is a single mom to one-year old Bryce. Shortly after Bryce's birth, Donna moved to Santa Cruz to be near her sister. She works as an audiologist at a local hospital and her Supervisor told her about Healthy Kids. “She told me this program is designed for people like me who make too much to qualify for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, but not enough to be able to afford private health insurance.”
Donna had a very positive experience applying for Healthy Kids and becomes emotional when she recalls coming forward and asking for help. ”[It was] an incredible experience. They were gracious; they never made me feel less than... they just wanted to see if I qualified so I could get health insurance for my son. And so here we are.”
Meghan, 27, is the mother of two-year old Alexander and is pregnant with another child. She works as a secretary and her husband is a self-employed plumber. She found out about Healthy Kids through a friend.
Meghan feels lucky to have health insurance through Healthy Kids because, as she describes it, health coverage enables her to “be a loving, responsible mom.” Healthy Kids insurance “gives me peace of mind to know that I can take Alexander to the doctor if and when he needs it.”
Yesenia is a mother of two. Her son Kriss is 9 years old, and she has a brand new baby. Their father commutes to Pescadero, where he works as a truck driver delivering fruits and vegetables. Yesenia’s children qualify for health insurance through Healthy Families, which guarantees that her son receives routine checkups.
“I take my son to the dentist about every six months. He has healthy teeth and never has a cavity.” Without Healthy Families insurance Yesenia could not afford to bring her son to the dentist. Yesenia knows how important dental health is to her son’s overall good health as well as his ability to perform well in school and develop socially. Unlike many uninsured children whose parents can’t afford dental care, Kriss is able to receive essential preventive services and is thriving, thanks to Healthy Families.
Sponsors of 200 Kids ($204,000+)
Sponsors of 100 Kids ($102,000+)
Sponsors of 40 Kids ($40,800+)