Healthy Kids Program Launches in San Francisco

San Francisco a Step Closer to Universal Health Coverage;

Community Kickoff Events Mark 'Healthy Kids Day' in the City

Jan 10, 2002, 00:00 ET from San Francisco Health Plan

    SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The launch of Healthy Kids, a new
 program that takes San Francisco one step closer to creating universal health
 care coverage for its 10,000 uninsured children, was announced today by
 San Francisco Health Plan and Mayor Willie Brown.  The City is the second
 County in the nation to commit to the goal of covering all its eligible kids.
 For only $4 a month for each child, Healthy Kids gives families access to
 quality medical, dental, and vision coverage -- regardless of their child's
 immigration status.
     The program provides a critically needed solution for working families who
 earn too much to qualify for other government-subsidized programs, but not
 enough to afford private health care coverage, or for those who do not receive
 coverage from their employers.  Healthy Kids is available to children under
 age 19, whose families earn less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level
 (for example, an annual income of $43,890 for a family of three or $52,950 for
 a family of four).
     "I'm very proud to launch the Healthy Kids initiative, which will provide
 an affordable solution for working and immigrant families that need access to
 quality health care for their children," said Mayor Brown.  "By extending
 health care coverage to San Francisco's children, we are closing a major gap
 in our system and taking a giant step toward universal health care for all
 San Franciscans, which has always been my long-term goal."
     Jean Fraser, CEO of the San Francisco Health Plan, observed that "quite
 often, working families don't even realize that they qualify for medical
 coverage for their kids -- and Healthy Kids now ensures that nearly every
 child can be covered.  In today's tougher economic times, parents are often
 forced to choose between their children's medical care and paying their rent.
 With Healthy Kids, they will be able to do both."
     "A groundbreaking component of Healthy Kids is that San Francisco children
 are eligible, regardless of immigration status, and enrollment in Healthy Kids
 does not affect the family's legal status, or that of their sponsor.  With
 this program, parents of immigrant children and working families will be able
 afford the wellness visits so crucial to keeping kids healthy and out of the
 emergency room," said Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, the City's Director of Health, and
 Chair of the San Francisco Health Plan's Board.
     Of the nearly 10,000 children without coverage in the City, the majority
 are from working families in the Latino, Asian, and African-American
 communities.  Children without health coverage are less likely to benefit from
 a regular doctor or primary care, making them more likely to suffer from
 undiagnosed and untreated illnesses, and placing them at high risk for
 otherwise avoidable diseases.  Healthy Kids will help San Francisco reduce the
 high cost of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, ease the burden of
 medical bills for parents, and most importantly -- protect San Francisco's
 children from needless pain and suffering.
     To commemorate the new Healthy Kids program, the Mayor has proclaimed
 January 13th Healthy Kids Day in San Francisco.  Parents can be among the
 first to apply for the program by attending neighborhood enrollment festivals
 at Jean Parker Elementary in Chinatown on January 12 and at Mission Dolores
 Auditorium or the Bayview Opera House on January 13.  Parents can also get
 more information and apply for coverage for their children by calling
     San Francisco Health Plan (SFHP) is a licensed health plan providing
 affordable health coverage to low and moderate-income families residing in
 San Francisco.  A local not-for-profit plan, SFHP was designed for and by the
 residents it serves -- many of whom would not be able to otherwise obtain
 health care for themselves or their families.  Through SFHP, members have
 access to a full spectrum of medical services, including preventive care,
 hospitalization, prescription drugs, family planning, and substance abuse
 programs.  SFHP's mission is to provide superior, affordable health care that
 emphasizes prevention and promotes healthy living, with the goal of improving
 the quality of life for the people of San Francisco.
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SOURCE San Francisco Health Plan