CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that over 500 churches, synagogues and other faith-based groups across Illinois will help enroll children in All Kids – the state’s program that provides affordable health care to any child who needs it. More than 500 faith communities in over 70 cities in Illinois are participating in the statewide outreach effort. All Kids made Illinois the first state in the nation to offer affordable, comprehensive health coverage to every uninsured child.
Since signing the All Kids legislation last November, more than 98,000 children have been enrolled in the program. The 100,000th child is expected to be enrolled this month. Since taking office, the Blagojevich administration has helped more than 275,000 children get access to affordable health care. The new enrollment effort is being held in conjunction with the Children Defense Fund’s National Observance of Children's Sabbaths celebrations.
“Our goal is very simple – we want every child in Illinois to have affordable health insurance. We’ve come a long way. Illinois is the only state that guarantees access to affordable health insurance to every child. We’ve signed up more than 275,000 children for health care in the last three and a half years, and nearly 100,000 kids since we enacted the All Kids legislation about a year ago. But until every child has health insurance, there’s more work to do, and that’s why we’re working with the Children’s Defense Fund and over 500 religious organizations to help ensure that more kids get the health care they need,” said Governor Blagojevich.
Endorsed by more than 200 denominations and religious organizations, the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Observance of Children's Sabbaths celebrations
, held during the third weekend in October, unites tens of thousands of religious congregations of many faiths in speaking out to promote justice and compassion for children and families. Faith communities participating in the All Kids’
Days outreach effort will receive All Kids
fact sheets and application request forms to hand out to families. All Kids
representatives will also be present at faith services around the state over the next two weeks to answer questions about the program and to help families sign up for healthcare.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to make sure that every family in Illinois gets the healthcare that they need,” said Barry Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. “We are pleased to be partnering with communities of many faiths from around the state, and they should be applauded for their strong commitment to their community.”
In August, Gov. Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) traveled to schools and community centers around the state for the Back-to-School All Kids outreach campaign to help every family in Illinois get healthcare for their children as the new school year began. Over 1,600 schools, 600 libraries, and 140 hospitals participated in the statewide outreach effort.
Since the All Kids
program was signed into law in November 2005, the Governor’s Office and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) have been aggressively reaching out and traveling to communities across the state to make sure eligible families know about the program and local healthcare providers, social service agents and community leaders are armed with the information they need to help families enroll. Families can apply for the program by calling 1-866-ALL-KIDS to receive an application form by mail or by visiting www.allkidscovered.com
Under Governor Blagojevich, the state has provided health coverage to more than 275,000 children who didn’t have it before, including 98,000 children who have enrolled in All Kids.
The Governor’s All Kids program makes comprehensive health insurance available to all uninsured children, and All Kids covers immunizations, doctor visits, and many other healthcare services such as hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, as well as medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers. Parents pay monthly premiums and co-payments for a variety of services.
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 visit to a physician. 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 visit to a physician. However, there are no co-pays for preventative care visits, such as annual immunizations and regular check ups, as well as screenings for vision, hearing, appropriate development and preventative dental.
The state will cover the difference between what parents contribute in monthly premiums and the actual cost of providing health care for each child. In addition, physicians seeing children will receive payment within 30 days of submitting a payable claim.
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 or early treatment 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.
The benefits of providing healthcare to children are numerous. Evidence shows that in addition to lacking adequate medical care, children without health insurance are at a disadvantage in the classroom. For example: According to a Florida Healthy Kids Annual Report in 1997, children who do not have health coverage are 25% more likely to miss school. A California Health Status Assessment Project on children’s health published in 2002 found that children who recently enrolled in health care saw their attendance and performance improve by 68%. And a 2002 study in Vermont entitled Building Bridges to Healthy Kids and Better Students conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers showed that children who started out without health insurance saw their reading scores more than double after getting health care.
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 $1,059 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. Healthcare 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.
Applications for the All Kids program are available for families interested in enrolling in the program. A child’s parent or guardian can fill out the application. Once the application form is received, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services or the Department of Human Services will process the information and mail a letter to the home explaining the next steps in the process.
More than 500 faith communities are helping to spread the word about All Kids in 75 cities and towns throughout Illinois: