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Doctors, hospitals and schools promote low-cost health care plans

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Billboards that look like this will begin to pop up in Michigan. The grops are also buying TV and radio ads.

An alliance of medical and educational associations is working to get more children signed up for free or low-cost health insurance programs.

In 2009, more than 127,000 children in Michigan were not covered by health insurance. But two out of every three of those kids were eligible for state and federal programs that provide free or low-cost coverage. This summer, about 44,000 children were enrolled in the state programs MIChild and Healthy Kids. Tens of thousands more children qualify but are not enrolled.

Kevin Downey is with Michigan’s Health and Hospital Association. The group has been working to raise awareness of the program so more kids are covered.

“But right now we’re focusing on a much more aggressive and ambitious strategy this fall to get kids enrolled because we want to raise the issue while kids are going back to school.”

Lynette Mills is with the Michigan Primary Care Association.

“A lot of times people think you have to be extremely low income to get these programs but 55-percent of our families that are eligible have one parent that works full-time so this is available for working families.”

Mills says most of the state-run health insurance plans cost $10 a month per family.

The associations are paying for billboard, TV, and radio advertisements to let parents know the programs are available.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Enterprise Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.