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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA) -The Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors approved a plan to waive children’s health-insurance premiums for three months in counties that sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Michael.

The move will waive premiums for children enrolled in the Healthy Kids, MediKids and Children’s Medical Services programs. The waiver will be for November, December and January in Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla and Taylor counties. The move will apply to 5,604 children, most of whom receive subsidized insurance coverage because of their family income levels.

About 325 children are in families that pay the full premiums. “I am thankful that Florida Healthy Kids has stepped up to waive premiums and extend renewals for the over 5,600 children in the impacted areas,” state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a prepared statement Thursday.

“These measures will save lives and allow children to receive needed health care as their families rebuild after this catastrophic storm.”

The overall cost of waiving the premiums is an estimated $3.58 million. Justin Senior, secretary of the state Agency for Health Care Administration, said in a letter this week to Florida Healthy Kids that his agency would “work diligently to ensure that Healthy Kids is reimbursed for premiums and resulting health plan capitation payments for these counties in these months.”

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