MLS teams up with covering kids and & families to score health coverage for millions of children

Major League Soccer teams across the country are supporting the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Covering Kids & Families' Back-to-School Campaign by declaring "Children's Health Care Coverage Days" at home games in cities across the country.

D.C. United stars Freddy Adu and Jaime Moreno took part in the national kickoff of the Covering Kids & Families Back-to-School Campaign in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The campaign encourages parents of America's 8.4 million uninsured children to find out if their children are eligible for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Enrolling eligible children in these programs is an important part of getting them ready for the new school year. As a national partner in the campaign, Major League Soccer will work to educate fans about these programs and how children can be enrolled.

"When a child has the security of health coverage, parents don't have to keep their kids off the playing field, afraid of an injury," said D.C. United player and campaign spokesperson Freddy Adu. "Health care coverage helps let kids be kids."

Since 1998, the number of uninsured children in America has declined by nearly 2 million. Despite this success, however, more than 7 out of every 10 uninsured children are eligible for low-cost or free health care coverage through Medicaid or SCHIP, but are not enrolled. Many eligible children come from working families whose parents may not realize their children are eligible for this coverage.

During "Children's Health Care Coverage Days," teams will promote the 1(877) KIDS-NOW toll-free information number on Jumbotrons and in game programs and distribute information about free or low-cost health coverage. Team events will take place during home games for the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, MetroStars, Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes.

"Major League Soccer is pleased to be a part of Covering Kids & Families," said Dan Courtemanche, MLS Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "Our hope is that MLS teams can help reach the millions of soccer fans who are parents and make them aware that health coverage is available for uninsured children."

In addition to the outreach at MLS regular season games, thousands of Covering Kids & Families' activities are planned nationwide in the coming weeks to enroll eligible children in Medicaid or SCHIP. Although eligibility varies, programs exist in every state and the District of Columbia. The programs cover doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions and more. Covering Kids & Families is working with hundreds of national and local health organizations to encourage parents of uninsured children to call toll-free 1(877) KIDS-NOW to find out if their children are eligible. A family of four earning up to $38,000 a year - or more - may qualify.

This year's campaign focuses on reaching African-American and Hispanic parents whose children are uninsured, but may be eligible for low-cost or free health care coverage through Medicaid or the SCHIP. According to research released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, uninsured Hispanic and African-American children are less likely to receive medical care than uninsured white children. Nationally, more than 40 percent (41.4 percent) of uninsured Hispanic children went without any medical care during the year, compared to just a quarter (25.7 percent) of uninsured white children. And uninsured African American children (14.7 percent) are less likely to receive all needed medical care compared to uninsured white children (3.9 percent).

For more information on other Back-to-School Campaign activities, log on to www.coveringkidsandfamilies.org.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Covering Kids & Families operates through statewide and local projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need-the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.


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