Parents educated about health care options

September 16, 2010 10:42:55 AM PDT
Local lawmakers say hundreds of thousands of Harris County families are missing out on free or low cost healthcare for their children. That's because the families haven't sign for the CHIP and Children's Medicaid programs. A group of Democrats and Republicans are coming together because they feel so strongly about the fact that there a more than 100,000 children in Harris County eligible for insurance at little to no cost, but they don't know about it

State representatives and other community partners fear those children are eligible for help but are not getting it, because their parents don't realize it's available.

Area lawmakers say that has to change and it starts with finding those families, working with them and actually walking through the enrollment and application process for Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP -- a state and federal insurance assistance program.

Texas State Representative Ken Legler said, "The good news is we have roughly 480,000 in Harris County enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid. The bad news is that we have 114,000 who are not."

"This is something that should not be a privilege but it ought to be a God-given right that every child is covered with health insurance," said Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado.

The plan of action is to hand out flyers and those state leaders are holding application assistance events for parents every Saturday throughout the rest of the month.

Eligibility for CHIP:

  • As long as the child is a US citizen or the parent is a legal permanent resident
  • Family of four with annual income of less than $44,000
When asked how enrolling 114,000 will impact the state budget, Representative Sylvester Turner said it will cost more if the kids do not have the health insurance they need. Lowering healthcare cost benefits everyone. He said enrolling kids will reduce overall health care cost and benefit everyone substantially.

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