Health Insurance And Your Child

The Early Show, Diane Rowland
CBS/The Early Show
More than half of children without health insurance in this country qualify for coverage but their parents don't even know it.

A new advertising campaign is being launched to get parents to find out if their children are eligible. Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Family Foundation, has the details Wednesday on The Early Show.

CBS and the Kaiser Foundation have teamed up to produce an ad campaign to inform parents of public-health coverage options.

A series of new television public service announcements (PSAs) and bus posters and cards are asking, "Is your child one of the 5 million?" The PSAs direct parents to call a toll-free number for more information about enrolling their children.

"When parents call the number they are connected to people who can talk knowledgeably about the state in which the caller resides. In some states, parents and kids are covered; some states have program just for kids," says Rowland. "Most programs cover children from families in the $30-40,000 annual income bracket for a family of three, with some states bracketing a little lower. Ages qualifying for coverage generally include infancy through the age of 18. The programs vary from state to state."

The television ads began airing on the CBS Network June 3 and will air throughout the year with new ads being unveiled periodically. In addition, the campaign will be on bus transit systems in New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

"Kids without insurance get less health care overall," says Rowland. "They get sicker, die younger, and grow up less healthy. Without timely preventive care, like doctor checkups and immunizations, they run a risk of dying or becoming permanently disabled. Without vision and hearing tests, they run a risk of entering their schooling at a disadvantage with disabilities that could be fixed."

Most programs are for children in working families, so it's not welfare, notes Rowland. "One of the main reasons people don't sign up for these programs is that they think because they work, they are ineligible. These programs are for hard-working families."

For more information, please call 1-877-KIDS-NOW.