Insurance workers take m essage to state’s discount stores

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 12, 2001

AP and staff reports

Thousands of Louisiana children in working-poor families have no health insurance, but their families may not know there is a program that can help.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals began a special push Saturday to get information to those families about the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program.

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LaCHIP provides coverage for children whose family income isn’t low enough to qualify for Medicaid but generally not high enough to afford private insurance through an employer.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Wal-Mart stores across the state – including one in Ferriday – allowed LaCHIP applications to be distributed on site. In Jonesville, the promotion was held at a Fred’s discount store. ”Our message is that people should stop by to get LaCHIP information because their children might be eligible for coverage,” said Ruth Kennedy, DHH’s deputy Medicaid director in charge of LaCHIP.

As of 2 p.m., more than 300 had visited the LaCHIP table outside the Ferriday Wal-Mart. &uot;We’ve had good attendance – probably because so many people are having to come here to buy school supplies this weekend,&uot; said Sandra McGlothin of the parish’s Medicaid office.

LaCHIP provides coverage for children up to age 19 for doctor visits, primary, preventive and emergency care, hospitalization, immunizations and prescription drugs.

Since 1998, the numbers of uninsured children have been reduced in Louisiana by 138,111.

As of last month, only 3,017 children in Concordia Parish and 1,414 in Catahoula Parish had been certified for LaCHIP; the number of uninsured children in those parishes is not known.