Spring Edition - April 2019
Spring into Action for Better Health

Longer days and more sunshine are the perfect recipe for fun outdoor adventures with the entire family. This edition of The KidCare Connector newsletter focuses on helping kids stay healthy and active, in body and mind, as the school year comes to a close and families start to plan out their summer activities.

We know it is a busy time of year and we want Florida KidCare families to feel stress-free and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their child is covered with quality health and dental insurance in case they get sick or hurt this summer.

Also, in recognition of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week from May 7-13, remember it is also important to pay attention to signs of depression and anxiety or any change in behavior by your child or teenager. Their mental health is just as important as their physical health, and Florida KidCare provides a range of benefits and services that can help.

Enjoy the next few months and know we are here if you have any questions or need more information. Florida KidCare can be reached Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. ET at 1-888-540-KIDS (5437) or by email at connect@healthykids.org .
Brought to you by Dentaquest
There are many child-friendly websites that help both parents and children learn proper oral hygiene instructions. A great website that makes it fun for kids to learn how to care for their teeth is 2min2x.org . The website has step-by-step videos for children to follow and information for parents to learn about children’s teeth and the stages of a healthy mouth with additional resources for parents to explore. Check it out today!
Are your Ready for Hurricane Season?

It's about that time of year! June 1 is the official start to Florida's hurricane season. To help you and your family get a head start on preparations now, see the emergency kit checklist below with items you'll want to have available if a storm impacts your area. It's also helpful to keep your insurance card close by, in case you have to seek medical care away from home.

Additional information on hurricane season preparations, shelter locations, special needs registry and more can be found at floridadisaster.org . You can also visit Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis' "Disaster Resources & Information" webpage here .
Get Moving,
Get Healthy!
Brought to you by
The healthy habits you teach your kids today can help them become healthy adults. Regular physical activity can produce long-term health benefits for your child. Being active can help your child maintain a healthy weight, improve self-esteem and lower risks of certain diseases.

Children should get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. It will help them build strong bodies
and bones and burn calories. Regular physical activity helps:
  • Decrease body fat
  • Improve flexibility
  • Increase energy
  • Handle stress
  • Improve concentration
  • Reduce risk for certain conditions like developing high blood pressure and diabetes
Help your child become more active:
  • Limit your child’s screen time – kids spend a lot of time watching tv, on computers, tablets and phones. Monitor your child’s daily screen time and encourage them to participate in activities that will get them moving.
  • Make sure they get enough sleep – this will help your child’s overall health and well-being. Depending on age, it is recommended children get between 8-12 hours of sleep per day.
  • Choose fun activities – ones that you and the family can do with your child such as soccer, swimming, jump rope, dancing, riding bikes, skateboarding, basketball and baseball.
Whichever you choose, make it fun. Do something new every day! For more information on physical activity, visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; and, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion .
Breakfast: Start the Day Off Right
Brought to you by Staywell Kids
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially for kids. Experts say kids who eat breakfast do better in school. Give kids a healthy start - some easy ideas include:
  1. Think outside the (cereal) box - reheat leftovers from the night before; mix up a smoothie with milk and fruit; grab a handful of nuts and dried fruit
  2. Include protein to keep kids full - try an egg, nuts, cheese or yogurt
  3. Make it the night before - hard-boiled eggs for an easy grab-and-go breakfast; cut up fruit or veggies so they’re ready to add to a yogurt parfait or omelet
Easy breakfast combos
These healthy ideas take just minutes to put together. Older kids can even make them on their own.
  • Tortilla roll-up: Spread almond butter on a whole-wheat tortilla, add fruit and roll it up.
  • Banana pop: Dip a peeled banana in yogurt, then roll it in granola.
  • Veggie pizza toast: Top a piece of whole-grain toast with some cheese and your favorite sliced veggies.
Want to learn more? Talk to your child’s doctor at his or her next appointment.

"Children's Day at the Capitol" - A Florida KidCare Crowning Success!
March 26, 2019

This fun-filled day at Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee is one where more than 5,000 children, parents, teachers, advocates, community leaders and policy makers gather for a day of educational, interactive events and activities.
Do You Know About the Behavioral Health Network (BNet) Program?
Brought to you by the

The Behavioral Health Network (BNet) is a health care plan operated by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for children ages 5-18 currently enrolled in the Florida Healthy Kids subsidized plan or the CMS plan with serious mental health or substance use needs. Children enrolled in BNet receive behavioral services for the treatment of their behavioral conditions and also the medical services of the CMS Health Plan. Children with serious mental health or substance use issues need intensive treatment services to stabilize and improve their condition so they may thrive in their community. Services are provided through a network of local psychiatrists and licensed mental health and substance use professionals trained and experienced in working with children and their families.

Services might include treatment planning and review, evaluation, case management, counseling, therapy, residential and day treatment services, family support, care coordination and other services. Services are family-centered, delivered in the community and based on individual needs. CMS Health Plan medical services may include routine medical care, immunizations, treatment of childhood illnesses and injuries, specialist visits, hospital stays, therapies, laboratory and X-ray services.

Families pay $15 or $20 monthly for CMS Plan coverage and nothing additional for BNet. Eligibility is based on the severity of the child’s mental health or substance use condition. BNet is available in most areas of the state. Parents who think their child may qualify for BNet should talk with their child’s primary care physician or CMS Plan Care Coordinator about a possible referral to BNet. 
Need to Find Information About Your Child's
Florida KidCare Insurance Company?
We have a solution for you! A chart and easy-to-use map showing which health and dental insurance companies offer plans by Florida region and county is available on the Florida Healthy Kids website here .
Protect Your Smile –
Say NO to Tobacco!
Brought to you by MCNA Dental Plan

In honor of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, we want you and your child to know the facts about how smoking affects your oral health. Smoking can cause:

  • Bad Breath: Ongoing bad breath is called halitosis. It is a long-term problem for smokers.
  • Stained Teeth and Tongue: When you smoke, your teeth and tongue become stained by tar.
  • Gum Disease: Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone around your teeth. Studies show that smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease that can lead to tooth loss.
  • Oral Cancer: Smoking increases your chances for oral cancer. One study found that more than eight out of 10 people with oral cancer were smokers.

Other forms of tobacco like cigars and chewing tobacco have also been shown to cause problems with oral health and overall health.

So on World No Tobacco Day, say NO! to all forms of tobacco use to protect you and your child's oral health. When you avoid tobacco and see your dentist for regular checkups, you help to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy for life!

News from the Treasure Coast Food Bank and Florida KidCare Coalition
Brought to you by Sherry Siegfried,
Director of Client Services

On February 23, 2019, staff of the Treasure Coast Food Bank, a member of the Treasure Coast Florida KidCare Coalition, attended the Pre-K Party & Kindergarten Round-up at the Indian River Mall. This event included fun education activities, face painting, balloons, arts and crafts, and much more.

The event was hosted by the Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative and while it focused on getting children enrolled in Kindergarten and Pre-K programs, it allowed parents the opportunity to learn about valuable community resources like Florida KidCare.

Hundreds of families were educated at this four-hour event and the Treasure Coast Florida KidCare Coalition members look forward to providing outreach and education at numerous upcoming school events throughout the Treasure Coast!
Play It Safe -
The Dental Mouth Guard
Brought to you by Argus Dental Plan

As parents of active children, we all know that accidents happen when children are participating in any type of activity. Protecting your child’s teeth from injury by using a mouth guard can reduce that risk. They should be worn every time your child takes part in contact sports – hockey, basketball, baseball, football – but your child will also benefit from wearing his or her mouth guard when riding bikes, skateboarding or on the playground. If your child wears braces, it is also important to protect his or her teeth from soft tissue injuries as well as the appliances fixed to the teeth. 

Mouth guards can be purchased in several forms. These include:
  • Ready-to-wear or stock mouth guards, which are fairly inexpensive. Dentists generally do not prefer these types, as they typically do not fit well in a child's mouth or provide the protection needed to save teeth from injury. 
  • Boil and bite guards are slightly more expensive. This type of protector is made of a plastic or acrylic that will soften when it is placed in hot water. When it is softened, it is pressed into place to shape around the teeth.
  • A custom-fitted guard is the recommended option for your child, but also the most expensive. It offers the most comfort and the best overall mouth and teeth protection. Custom-fitted dental mouth guards are individually made in your dentist’s office. Your dentist can recommend one for your child.
Sun Safety for Your Skin
Brought to you by Wellcare

Every year, five million people are treated for skin cancer in the U.S. It is the most common type of cancer, but did you know that most cases of skin cancer are preventable?
Risk factors
Certain people may be at an increased risk for skin cancer. Be extra careful in the sun if you or your child have a family or personal history of skin cancer, frequent sun exposure or skin that burns or freckles easily.
Protect your child's skin
Be sun smart. Follow these tips to keep your child's skin healthy:
  • Spend time in the shade
  • Use sunscreen that shields UVA and UVB rays
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and clothes that cover your child's arms and legs
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming

No tan is a safe tan. Every time your child's skin changes color – whether it is a tan or a burn – it means their skin has been damaged, putting them at a higher risk of skin cancer.

Teen Vaping in Florida
Brought to you by the

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Surgeon General have issued statements and advisories declaring teen vaping, or e-cigarette use, a nationwide epidemic. While e-cigarette companies claim that their products are intended for adults, skyrocketing rates among teens across the country, including Florida, tell a different story. In 2018, 25% of Florida high school students reported current use of electronic vaping – a drastic 58% increase compared to 2017. Among Florida adults, only about 4% were vaping.
Many teens assume that e-cigarette aerosol is just “water vapor.” However, this aerosol may contain nicotine and even cancer-causing chemicals. In fact, the most popular e-cigarette brand is JUUL, a device shaped like a USB drive that delivers high levels of nicotine, is available in a variety of flavors, and is easy to conceal. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod (the “liquid” refill) contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
Nicotine is highly addictive and harms brain development by affecting parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood,and impulse control. The brain continues to develop until the early to mid-20s. Evidence also suggests that teens who use e-cigarettes may be at a greater risk of starting to smoke regular cigarettes.
Tobacco Free Florida is a trusted resource for credible and accurate information about the teen vaping epidemic. You can help by educating yourself and talking to your kids about the serious concerns around vaping and nicotine addiction.

2019 Annual Income Guidelines Available Now!
Every year, the federal government issues new income guidelines. These guidelines determine the income thresholds for subsidized Florida KidCare programs. These new income guidelines may mean you are eligible for a less expensive Florida KidCare program than you have now - we will contact those families directly to let them know when their premium will change and what their new payment will be. Please take a look at the information below to learn more.
Contact Florida KidCare - 1-888-540-KIDS (5437)
Monday – Friday | 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FloridaKidCare.org | connect@healthykids.org