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December 28, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich announces start of healthcare expansion for 56,000 more working parents
FamilyCare expansions and All Kids program part of larger effort to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for Illinois’ working families

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that beginning January 1, 2006, eligibility for the FamilyCare health insurance program will be expanded to an additional 56,000 working parents.  The new income threshold marks the third expansion of the FamilyCare program under the Blagojevich administration, and – along with the All Kids program – is a key part of the Governor’s larger effort to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for working families across the state. 
“When parents are healthy, they’re better able to deal with the challenges of raising their children, and are more productive at work.  The new year will offer tens of thousands of working parents across Illinois an opportunity to improve their health and quality of life by having access to the healthcare coverage they need,” Gov. Blagojevich said.  “Through the expansions of FamilyCare, KidCare and the new All Kids program, we’ve made major strides in making sure more people have access to healthcare coverage, but there is more work to do.  We will continue to reach out to families and make sure they know about the resources available to them that can make a major difference in their lives for years to come.”
Parents have two easy options for applying for both FamilyCare and KidCare:  they can apply online in English or Spanish at www.kidcareillinois.com, or call 1(866) 4-OUR-KIDS. 
The FamilyCare expansion was a major priority for the Governor in the FY ’06 budget, raising eligibility from 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is an annual household income of $25,740 for a family of four, to 185 percent of the FPL, which is an annual household income of $35,796 for a family of four.   On November 15, 2005, the Governor signed his landmark All Kids program into law, making Illinois the first state in the nation to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every uninsured child in the state. 
Over the last three years, Governor Blagojevich has expanded healthcare coverage to almost 400,000 parents and children.  This will be the third FamilyCare expansion under Gov. Blagojevich and will make an additional 56,000 parents eligible for health insurance.  In 2003, the Governor raised eligibility from 49 percent of the FPL to 90 percent, and in 2004, from 90 percent of the FPL to 133 percent.  Shortly after taking office in 2003, the Governor raised the income threshold for children under KidCare from 185 percent of the FPL to 200 percent. 

“Gov. Blagojevich has made access to healthcare one of his top priorities since taking office and we are extremely proud of the progress that has been made to increase coverage for working families,” said Barry Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).  “Under the Blagojevich Administration, Illinois has become a national leader in providing access to affordable healthcare coverage. We will continue to work hard to improve access through this FamilyCare expansions and the new All Kids program.”
In September, 2005, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, one of the nation’s most respected independent health policy research organizations, released a report finding that Illinois, for the second year in a row, is leading the nation in delivering healthcare coverage for children and parents.  Illinois’ ranking comes as a result of Governor Blagojevich’s expansions of the KidCare and FamilyCare health programs that provide affordable coverage to working men and women and their children.
KidCare and FamilyCare provide comprehensive healthcare coverage to children and parents whose income is too high to qualify for regular Medicaid.  The programs are a cost-effective means of fighting the problem of uninsured children and families because the federal reimbursement to the state is 65 percent, instead of the standard Medicaid reimbursement rate of 50 percent. 
Just this month, the Governor announced the start of pre-registration for the All Kids program that will provide access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every uninsured child in Illinois.  Pre-registration is available by calling 1-866-ALL-KIDS and a form will be sent by mail or families can pre-register for All Kids online at www.allkidscovered.com
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 state 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.


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