US approves Arizona plan for health care changes

PHOENIX - Federal officials are approving Arizona's plan to provide government-paid health care coverage for more children while helping some hospitals pay for care for people without health insurance.

The Department of Health and Human Services authorizes a new eligibility category for the state's KidsCare program serving children from low-income families.

That will make approximately 22,000 additional children eligible under KidsCare. Its enrollment was frozen in 2010 by budget cuts during the recession.

The plan's financing is built around an arrangement under which three major hospitals will pay money into the plan but get more back from federal matching funds.

Hospitals participating in the plan are Phoenix Children's Hospital and Maricopa Integrated Health Systems in Phoenix and two University of Arizona hospitals in Tucson.