CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that 300,000 more Illinois children have access to healthcare than when he took office in January 2003, in large part due to the overwhelming success of the new All Kids health insurance program. More than 120,000 children have enrolled in All Kids since November of last year, outpacing expectations for the program’s first year. The Governor also announced a new partnership with Broadway In Chicago and Chicago’s company of the musical WICKED to raise awareness for All Kids starting in 2007. Nine-year old Erin Hussey, the 300,000th child to enroll in the state’s children’s health program since 2003, and her father today were treated to a performance of WICKED.
“We have worked hard over the last four years to put our resources where they matter most – in working families,” said Governor Blagojevich. “I am proud to announce that since we took office, 300,000 children across the state now have health insurance who didn’t have it before. That means that those kids are healthier, their families are healthier, and they are more likely to do well in school. But our work is not done until we reach every uninsured child in the state. That’s why I am very excited that Broadway In Chicago and Chicago’s company of WICKED have agreed to help us reach our goal in making sure every uninsured child in the state has health insurance.”
Shortly after taking office, the Governor increased the income threshold for children in KidCare from 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to 200 percent, and in November 2005, the Governor signed All Kids into law, making healthcare affordable for the families of every uninsured child in the state. All Kids made Illinois the first state in the nation to offer affordable, comprehensive health coverage to every uninsured child.
“Governor Blagojevich has made it a priority to make sure that every child in the state can see a doctor, get the eyeglasses they need to see the chalkboard, and get the prescription drugs they need to stay well,” said Barry Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. “His leadership has set the bar among states in providing access to healthcare for all children.”
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.allkids.com.
Under Governor Blagojevich, the state has provided health coverage to more than 300,000 children who didn’t have it before, including over 120,000 children who have enrolled in All Kids.
The 300,000th child to enroll in the Governor’s All Kids program was 9 year old Erin Hussey. Erin and her father Thomas Hussey are among many of the thousands of Illinois families who have been able to obtain affordable health care coverage through the Governor’s All Kids program.
The Governor also announced today that Broadway In Chicago and the Chicago company of the Broadway musical WICKED have agreed to help spread the word about All Kids as a way to further ensure that every child in the state of Illinois has access to affordable comprehensive health insurance. Starting January 2007, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre will display All Kids program messages to WICKED audiences in lobby areas, programs as well as through internet communications.
“Broadway In Chicago along with the Chicago company of WICKED is proud to raise awareness for Governor Blagojevich’s valuable program, All Kids,” says Broadway In Chicago President Lou Raizin.
Gene Weygandt, longtime Illinois resident who plays The Wizard, welcomed Erin Hussey and her family to see the Sunday show on behalf of the entire cast and crew at WICKED. “We are all delighted that WICKED’s impact can extend beyond our performances and into the community at large as we help support this important public health initiative,” says Gene Weygandt.
The Chicago company of WICKED started performances on Friday, June 24, 2005 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, where it continues to perform to sold-out audiences on an open run basis.
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. Directed by Joe Mantello, with musical staging by Wayne Cilento, WICKED is currently presented in Chicago, on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre, on a national tour, and in London at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch
About 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.
Studies have shown that children with health coverage are more likely to get preventative care, stay healthy and succeed in school.