Stub

Fire teams up with Covering Kids & Families to score health coverage for thousands of children across Illinois

CHICAGO, IL - The Chicago Fire has announced that the club will declare "Children's Health Care Coverage Day" on Wednesday, Aug. 10 during the Fire's match against the Kansas City Wizards at Soldier Field beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT as part of the team's commitment to supporting the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Covering Kids & Families national Back-to-School Campaign. The Fire is joining the Covering Kids & Families Illinois Coalition in launching a series of local events that will take place in Chicago and across the state to enroll eligible, uninsured children in KidCare. The Fire will distribute information about low-cost or free health care coverage and promote the 1(866) 4-OUR-KIDS toll-free information number on its Jumbotron at Soldier Field.

The campaign encourages parents of the more than 252,000 uninsured children in Illinois to find out if their children are eligible for KidCare, Illinois' Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program. 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, MLS and its 12 teams across the country will work to educate fans about these programs and how children can be enrolled.

"The Chicago Fire is very proud to be a part of this national effort and bring the support of professional sports to the Illinois Covering Kids & Families outreach campaign. As an organization we understand our responsibility to make meaningful contributions back to the community. We are honored to be leading other Chicagoland area major league sports teams in the effort to raise awareness of the uninsured and the health coverage options available to those who are in need," said Chicago Fire Director of Community Relations Donald Ortale.

Since 1998, the number of uninsured children in America has declined by nearly 2 million. Despite this success, however, more than 1 out of every 3 uninsured children in Illinois go without any medical care for an entire year. Many eligible children come from working families whose parents may not realize their children are eligible for this coverage.

In addition to the outreach at the Fire-Kansas City match, over a hundred Covering Kids & Families' activities are planned statewide in the coming weeks to enroll eligible children in KidCare. The programs cover doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions and more. Covering Kids & Families Illinois is working with hundreds of local health organizations to encourage parents of uninsured children to call toll-free 1(866) 4-OUR-KIDS to find out if their children are eligible. A family of four earning $40,000 a year or less may qualify.

This year's national Back-to-School 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. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.