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CT kids ages 15 and younger now qualify for Husky health care, regardless of immigration status

Nelli Jara, executive director of the Connecticut Worker Center, chants “Husky for All” with other supporters of the expansion of state-subsidized healthcare eligibility for immigrants at a press event at Fair Haven Community Health Care on July 1, 2024.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Nelli Jara, executive director of the Connecticut Worker Center, chants “Husky for All” with other supporters of the expansion of state-subsidized healthcare eligibility for immigrants at a press event at Fair Haven Community Health Care on July 1, 2024.

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The new law extending state-subsidized health insurance eligibility to all children, regardless of their immigration status, took effect on July 1. To celebrate this expansion of Connecticut’s Husky program, New Haven community members and state and city leaders gathered at Fair Haven Community Health Care.

This extension provides full Medicaid eligibility to children age up to age 15 and under, up from the previous cutoff of 12 years old, making healthcare more accessible to thousands of previously uninsured children.

Advocates praise this step as an important move toward making health care a basic right for more citizens while recognizing the need for continued progress.

Dr. Sue Lagarde, head of Fair Haven Community Health Care, highlighted the importance of health care as a human right.

Dr. Sue Lagarde, head of Fair Haven Community Health Care, speaks at a press conference outside of her clinic on July 1, 2024, held to celebrate the expansion of Husky Healthcare coverage eligibility, raising the age limit from 12 to 15. The expansion, available to children regardless of their immigration status, will make healthcare more accessible to thousands of previously uninsured children.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Dr. Sue Lagarde, head of Fair Haven Community Health Care, speaks at a press conference outside of her clinic on July 1, 2024, held to celebrate the expansion of Husky Healthcare coverage eligibility, raising the age limit from 12 to 15. The expansion, available to children regardless of their immigration status, will make healthcare more accessible to thousands of previously uninsured children.

“For 53 years, we have been tirelessly advocating for access to Connecticut Medicaid. No one is healthy unless we are all healthy. I'm here to report that since January 1, 2023, at this health center l alone, we have enrolled over 500 Children.”

The health center in Fair Haven, one of New Haven’s poorest neighborhoods, serves everyone, including low-income families and patients who are uninsured.

Mayor Justin Elicker said the state's role is to ensure that all residents, regardless of background or insurance status, receive necessary care.

“We are proudly welcoming everyone no matter where you come from,” Elicker said. “So this is about our values as a community, but it is more importantly about supporting children that are oftentimes coming from traumatic situations to ensure that they have every health resource to thrive.”

Personal stories underscored the importance of this expansion. Nancy Aucapina, an immigrant and patient at Fair Haven, expressed relief that her teen daughter now has access to essential healthcare services through the Husky program.

Nancy Aucapina, an immigrant and patient at Fair Haven Community Health Center, said she feels relieved that her 13-year-old has access to healthcare. “But also I am worried that when she turns 19, she will not be able to have insurance,” she said, advocating for a further expansion of the sate-subsidized health insurance.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Nancy Aucapina, an immigrant and patient at Fair Haven Community Health Center, said she feels relieved that her 13-year-old has access to healthcare. “But also I am worried that when she turns 19, she will not be able to have insurance,” she said, advocating for a further expansion of the sate-subsidized health insurance.

“My daughter is 13 years old, and she is benefiting from this program,” Alcabina said. “If for any reason she needs to go to the ER, she’ll receive all the medicare care, and I know she’ll be in good hands.”

Luis Luna, an advocate, and HUSKY 4 Immigrants Coalition Manager, is an immigrant from Ecuador who came to the U.S. at age 13. Luna highlighted the need for comprehensive healthcare coverage, particularly for undocumented individuals.

He said health coverage for undocumented teens and children is a step in the right direction, but the new law could go further to include older teens and adults.

"We have an opportunity to legislate and ensure everyone qualifies for Medicaid, setting the rules for who qualifies and the income requirements," Luna said. "Let's keep pushing forward, think strategically, and make sure that everyone in our community and state has the healthcare they need."

Advocates said the next goal is to extend coverage up to age 18.

Governor Ned Lamont expresses his support for the expansion of HUSKY to children up to age of 15. “God doesn’t ask your immigration status,” he said. “We’re all God’s children.”
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Governor Ned Lamont expresses his support for the expansion of HUSKY to children up to age of 15. “God doesn’t ask your immigration status,” he said. “We’re all God’s children.”

Gov. Lamont said that Connecticut continues to take the lead in protecting the health of children and mothers, regardless of their immigration status.

“God doesn't ask for your immigration status; He says we're all His children," Lamont said. "That's why we're standing here today with each and every one of you, doing what we can to continue to extend healthcare as a basic right to more and more citizens.”

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Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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