Children Need a Healthy Start to Have a Successful Future

All Arizona children deserve to have access to the resources and services needed to thrive. As the cost of living continues to rise, ensuring that all families have equitable access to high-quality health care is one of the best ways to support the most vulnerable years in a child’s life.

We believe the state must take an active role in supporting families. By investing in and expanding programs such as AHCCCS and Kids Care, Arizona is investing in the future of children. Our goal is to drive legislative changes for health care that is…

for all families

in every corner of the state

to taxpayers and participants

What is Medicaid or AHCCCS?

Medicaid, which in Arizona is known as AHCCCS, provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant persons, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. AHCCCS is administered by the state of Arizona, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by Arizona and the federal government.

What is CHIP or KidsCare?

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known in Arizona as KidsCare, provides health coverage to children and families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who cannot afford private coverage. 

The AHCCCS agency offers KidsCare health insurance for eligible children (under age 19) who are not eligible for other AHCCCS health insurance. For those who qualify, there are low monthly premiums.

Every Arizona Child Deserves a Healthy Life

Children with health coverage do better in school, earn more as adults, and give birth to healthier infants when they grow up. Health coverage ensures children can go to school ready to learn, and students who are ready to learn are ready to lead.

Yet thousands of Arizona’s children are uninsured, with the state having the 4th highest uninsured rate in the nation.

AHCCCS and KidsCare are not being used to their full potential. If we take steps to maximize our investment in these programs, we will see benefits that go far beyond children’s health:

For every $1 spent on early childhood, up to $16 is saved through decreased special education, social welfare, and crime-related costs.

Investments early in life also increase high school and college graduations and spur economic development.

Health Coverage is a Crucial Investment

AHCCCS and KidsCare are a critical source of health coverage for nearly half of Arizona children. These programs help families navigate health emergencies and reduce the burden of uncompensated care on our state’s health system. Both are especially important to the health of rural health centers and tribal lands, where access to medical attention is limited.

“My experience with AHCCCS has been fabulous and having health insurance has been a great support to me. I am at peace because if I find myself in need, I know that I can make a call and have the health coverage I need to access services to regain my health.”

–Alma Celia, AHCCCS member

Publicly Funded Health Insurance Helps Everyone

A significant portion of Arizonans rely on Medicaid & CHIP coverage. These programs are important to everyone and should be accessible, comprehensive, and effectively administered. With the costs of treating uninsured patients costing the US over $42 billion per year, publicly funded health insurance saves money and lives.

“My husband works and does well at his job, and we do okay. But right now my nephew is living with us, and there are more of us, so AHCCCS works well for us at this time.”

– Fatima

AHCCCS is for Children and Adults

AHCCCS is not limited to covering children, but provides services for adults up to age 65, including:

Dental Care

AHCCCS provides comprehensive dental services to children and youth that save the state money by preventing costly health complications caused or exacerbated by poor oral health. Adults are also eligible for limited emergency dental benefits, and advocates are pushing to expand preventative benefits to adults as well.

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Postpartum Care

AHCCCS offers up to 12 months of postpartum health care coverage after birth for inpatient or outpatient care, medications and other services to ensure children enjoy a healthy start.

2024 Legislative Priorities

All children deserve to go to school healthy so they can learn and grow up strong. Childhood sets the stage for health throughout life. Children’s Action Alliance understands that children’s health is also dependent on family health. That is why it is important all children and parents have access to healthcare, and insurance is key to connecting them to quality care. 

  1. Continue increasing the number of children with health insurance as the rate of children without health insurance in Arizona has been cut in half – from 16% to 8% - since 2008. When Arizona froze KidsCare enrollment – the progress stopped. Now, Arizona needs to successfully implement KidsCare eligibility to reach families who become newly eligible, including those previously denied coverage for being over income. Any budget cuts to AHCCCS could harm the progress Arizona has made in improving children’s health.
  2. Help children get the health services they need in their school, which is often a convenient, culturally affirming, and accessible location. Data showing increasing depression, anxiety, and suicide risk among youth is alarming and requires urgent solutions. CAA will continue working with AHCCCS to implement its new policies expanding school health billing, and we encourage the State to take advantage of new federal funding and flexibilities under the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help students get the care they need.
  3. Provide comprehensive dental care to adults who participate in Medicaid, especially during pregnancy, as strong oral health leads to healthier pregnancies and births. 
  4. Increase AHCCCS eligibility during pregnancy. At a time of rising maternal deaths, especially among Black and Indigenous women, Arizona has among the most restrictive income limits for pregnant persons. 
  5. Join 35 other states in restoring AHCCCS and KidsCare coverage to lawfully present Arizonans during childhood and pregnancy by removing the five-year waiting period for certain lawfully present immigrant families.  

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