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August 30, 2001

Governor Urges Parents to Enroll Children in Kidcare as School Begins
166,000 presently enrolled in children's health insurance program

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today urged parents to enroll their children in the KidCare health insurance program as part of their back-to-school activities.

"Perhaps the most important item on your child's back-to-school list is health care insurance," Governor Ryan said. "In Illinois, parents and grandparents who are raising children can provide health care coverage for their kids and grandkids by applying for the KidCare health insurance program.

"Whether your child needs immunizations, doctor or nursing care, eye and dental exams or a simple check-up, KidCare is there to keep your kids healthy."

Depending on a family's income, KidCare provides free or low-cost health care for Illinois children through age 18. Children of parents earning up to about $38,000 per year are eligible for the program.

"Increasing KidCare enrollments continues to be one of my top priorities. Our hard work has made Illinois a national leader in providing health care coverage to kids," Ryan said. "When I took office, the state had enrolled about 28,000 kids and pregnant women into the program. By simplifying the enrollment process and aggressively spreading the word about the program, we have enrolled more than 166,000 kids and pregnant mothers into KidCare - a six-fold increase since January 1999."

"However, there are still children who need KidCare coverage. Finding and enrolling them will be an even greater challenge," Ryan said. "But we will continue to work diligently to enroll every eligible child into the KidCare program."

Services for kids include doctor and nursing care, immunizations and preventive care, hospital and clinic care, lab tests and x-rays, prescription drugs, medical equipment and supplies, dental care, transportation, mental health and substance abuse services, among others.

KidCare is a state and federal program that offers health care coverage to children and pregnant women and helps pay premiums of employer-sponsored private insurance plans. Children through age 18 who are Illinois residents, U.S. citizens or qualified legal immigrants including refugees and asylees, and whose family meets income requirements are eligible. Pregnant women who are Illinois residents and meet income requirements also are eligible.

To receive an application, call the toll-free KidCare hotline at 1-866-4-OUR-KIDS (1-866-468-7543). Or visit the website at www.kidcareillinois.com


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