For Tina Escobedo, having her three daughters enrolled in KidsCare means she doesn’t have to choose between paying rent or taking her kids to the doctor.
“It gives me peace of mind,” said Escobedo, a Phoenix mother. “It’s one less expense I have to worry about.”
KidsCare, part of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, provides health insurance for the state’s children at little cost to families. The program is funded by the state and the federal government.
While more than 58,000 Arizona children are enrolled in KidsCare, an estimated 250,000 others are uninsured. Of those, at least half are believed to be eligible for KidsCare.
To get the word out to more parents about these programs, the Covering Arizona Kids Coalition held a news conference Wednesday at Chase Field to kick off a two-month, back-to-school campaign.
Carol Kamin, president and CEO of the Children’s Action Alliance, said Arizona has one of the highest percentages of uninsured children in the nation.
“Most of these kids are eligible,” she said. “These programs are designed for working families who often don’t think they’re qualified.”
Kamin said it’s important for children to have health coverage so that minor health problems don’t become major ones.
Diamondbacks pitcher and campaign spokesman Miguel Batista said parents should know they are not alone in raising their children.
“As a parent, I believe this is a very important program to support,” Batista said. “A lot of people are holding hands to make a change. We have parents that have enjoyed this program — it does work, it is affordable.”
Greg Stanton, a Phoenix councilman, said kids who have quality health care are more likely to stay in school and earn good grades.
A family of four earning up to $40,000 a year can qualify.
“This is a program for the working poor,” Stanton said.
The campaign effort includes distributing information in church and school newsletters through various school districts and at several events throughout the state over the next two months, including at Wednesday night’s Diamondbacks game against the San Francisco Giants.
For information, call (877) 543-7669.