Medically Vulnerable Residents to Gain Easier Access to Healthcare
Last updated 9/30/2023 at 8:56am
Polk County's medically vulnerable residents will find healthcare more accessible beginning October 1 after the Citizens Healthcare Oversight Committee approved relaxing income requirements for participation in the Polk HealthCare Plan (PHP) from 168 to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
According to officials, the change is in part a reflection of the minimum wage increase occurring in Florida on September 30. Families may make more money now due to higher pay but, thanks to the escalating cost of living, they still may not be able to afford healthcare.
To be eligible for PHP under previous rules a family of three could earn no more than $50,400 annually. Now they can earn up to $60,000 per year and still qualify.
PHP was created as last resort for residents with no other options for healthcare coverage. It is funded by a voter-approved half-cent sales tax, and it must be spent to help the county's indigent population. To qualify for membership in the PHP, you must meet several requirements including:
• Be a full-time resident of Polk County;
• Have no health insurance coverage or medical coverage;
• Have no or low-household income;
• Provide a social security number;
• Provide a valid Florida issued driver's license or ID card; and
• Provide two proofs of residency and proof of income.
PHP gives members access to comprehensive healthcare coverage through a network of locally contracted providers. The plan is not insurance and members do not pay annual deductibles, monthly fees, enrollment fees or submit claim forms. Members only pay small copays for doctor visits or filled prescriptions. PHP partners with licensed medical providers in the community to offer: a variety of services including:
• Primary and specialty care;
• Behavioral healthcare;
• Annual preventive screenings;
• Emergency room care;
• Urgent care;
• In-patient services;
• Joint replacements;
• Medical tests
For more information about the PHP, visit the Polk County website or call (863) 533-1111.