GURNEE— First Lady Patti Blagojevich today launched a pre-registration campaign in the northern suburbs of Chicago for the All Kids
program that will provide access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every uninsured child in Illinois. At the Gurnee Mills Mall, the First Lady talked with holiday shoppers about the benefit of All Kids
and the advantages of pre-registering. Families can now pre-register by calling 1-866-ALL-KIDS to receive a form by mail. Starting January 1, 2006, families will be able to pre-register for All Kids
online at www.allkidscovered.com
. The mall is offering incentives for those who fill out registration forms.
“As a mother, my number one priority is the health and safety of my two daughters. Unfortunately, in Illinois, there are thousands of parents who work hard to provide for their families and still cannot afford health insurance,” said First Lady Patti Blagojevich. “Now, with my husband’s All Kids health insurance program, these families won’t have to worry about taking their child to the doctor if they become sick or injured. Parents can pre-register their children in All Kids today to help advance the application process so that they don’t have to worry about how to afford their child’s health care coverage.”
“We are pleased to host First Lady Patti Blagojevich at Gurnee Mills and assist in her efforts to generate awareness of the new All Kids program among Illinois residents,” said Curt Morey, marketing director at Gurnee Mills. “At Gurnee Mills, local community residents will not only have the chance to gain additional information about this important initiative, but will also have the opportunity to become involved in our kids club, Muggsy's Meadow, that further supports the goal of this program.”
“This pre-registration period will help get the ball rolling for All Kids and make the application process more efficient,” said Barry Maram, Director of HFS. “It is our priority to ensure that every parent who wants to enroll their children in All Kids does and that they start receiving benefits July 1st if not sooner.”
Once a pre-registration form is received, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) will process the information and mail parents a letter to explain the next steps in the application process. When it is time for the family to apply, the Department will mail each family an All Kids application that will be partially filled out based on the information provided during pre-registration. Children who are determined to be eligible for KidCare can apply immediately to receive health coverage. Families not currently eligible for KidCare may apply early in 2006 for benefits that will begin July 1, 2006. Pre-registration forms should be filled out and mailed to All Kids, P.O. Box 19122, Springfield, IL 62794-9805 or they will be collected at pre-registration sites across the state over the next few months.
For families who pre-register for the All Kids program at the Gurnee Mills Mall, free coupon books are offered to the parents, and Muggsy Meadow activity books and gel bracelets from Muggsy's Meadow Kids Club are offered to the kids.
Four Westfield® Chicagoland locations will also have All Kids weekend pre-registration events from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 17th and 18th. The Westfield® North Bridge in Chicago, Westfield® Fox Valley in Aurora, Westfield® Chicago Ridge in Chicago Ridge, and Westfield® Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet as well as the St. Clair Square in the Metro East area will host All Kids pre-registration events on Saturday, December 17th and the Westfield® Chicago Ridge in Chicago Ridge, Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet and the St. Clair Square in the Metro East area will also have All Kids pre-registration events on Sunday, December 18th.
Of the 250,000 children in Illinois without health insurance, more than half come from working and middle class families who earn too much to qualify for programs like KidCare, but not enough to afford private health insurance. The Governor’s program would make comprehensive health insurance available to children, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eye glasses and asthma inhalers.
Parents will pay monthly premiums and co-payments for doctors’ visits and prescription drugs at affordable rates.
Unlike private insurance that is too expensive for so many families, the rates for All Kids coverage will be based on a family’s income. The state is able to offer All Kids insurance coverage at much lower than market rates for middle-income families by leveraging the significant negotiating and buying power it already has through Medicaid.
For example, a family with two children that earns between $40,000 and $59,999 a year will pay a $40 monthly premium per child, and a $10 co-pay per physician visit. A family with two children earning between $60,000 and $79,999 will pay a $70 monthly premium per child, and a $15 co-pay per physician visit. However, there will be no co-pays for preventative care visits, such as annual immunizations and regular check ups and screenings for vision, hearing, appropriate development or preventative dental. These premiums for middle-income families are significantly more affordable than typical private insurance premiums of $100 to $200 a month, or $2,400 per child annually.
The state will cover the difference between what parents contribute in monthly premiums and the actual cost of providing health care for each child, expected to be $45 million in the first year, with savings generated by implementing a primary care case management model (PCCM) for participants in the state’s FamilyCare and All Kids health care programs. Participants will choose a single primary physician who will manage their care by ensuring they get immunizations and other preventative health care services and avoid unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Patients with chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes will have a single care manager to make sure they are getting the treatments and ongoing care they need to avoid acute care. Primary care physicians will make referrals to specialists for additional care or tests as needed.
By ensuring patients get adequate preventative care on the front end, fewer people will need expensive specialized care or emergency care for critical conditions. In children, preventative care is especially important. For example, infants with stomach flu (gastroenteritis) who receive appropriate primary care can avoid being hospitalized for dehydration. Providing a timely exam and appropriate antibiotic treatment for children with ear infections (otitis media) can prevent chronic ear problems, loss of hearing and the need for surgically placed tubes to relieve fluid build up. Treating children with bronchitis or minor lung infections in a primary care setting can help to avoid more expensive hospitalization treatment of pneumonia, including intravenous antibiotics and respiratory treatments. And early identification and appropriate treatment of children who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, will result in fewer expensive emergency room and inpatient care visits.
Twenty-nine other states, including North Carolina, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, have realized significant savings by using this model for their Medicaid programs. Based on independent analyses, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services estimates the state will save $56 million in the first year by implementing the PCCM model in all state health programs but those that serve seniors and the blind.
Research also provides strong economic reasons for insuring all children. Delayed treatment can result in more complex, more threatening and more expensive care later. While the uninsured pay approximately 35% of their medical bills out of pocket, more than 40% ends up being absorbed by those who do have health insurance in the form of higher premiums. According to a recent Families USA report, the cost of paying for the uninsured will add $1059 to the average family’s insurance premiums here in Illinois in 2005.
In addition, investing in health care can have a positive impact on local economies. Over the past five years, the health care industry has created nearly 40,000 new jobs in Illinois. Health care is the second-fastest growing industry in the state, and one of the fastest in the nation. Families USA found that for every $1 million invested in health care for people who need coverage, an additional $2.4 million is generated in new business activity and $840,000 in new wages.
More information about All Kids is available online at www.allkidscovered.com.