DEAR ABBY: It's hard to believe, but today in the United States more than 8.5 million children have no health insurance. They do not have access to annual checkups or eye exams, and are less likely to receive proper medical care for common childhood illnesses such as sore throats, earaches and asthma.
Covering Kids and Families, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is working to let parents know that low-cost and free health care coverage IS available through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicaid.
Programs are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Uninsured children are eligible for these programs, even if their parents work. Eligibility varies by state, but families earning up to $36,000 a year or more may qualify for these programs, which cover doctor visits, immunizations, hospitalizations and more.
As parents prepare their children to go back to school, Covering Kids and Families is encouraging parents of uninsured children to enroll them in a low-cost or free health care coverage program now.
Thank you for helping me spread the word, Abby. -- RISA LAVIZZO-MOUREY, M.D., M.B.A., PRESIDENT AND CEO, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION
DEAR DR. LAVIZZO-MOUREY: Thank YOU for your important letter. Parents, I urge you to call (877) KIDS-NOW ((877) 543-7669) to establish whether your children are eligible for these important programs.