An aggressive outreach campaign by the Illinois Department of Public
Aid's KidCare program, working in concert with health care providers
and school systems around the state, has resulted in the enrollment
of an additional 104,000 children since the Blagojevich
administration took office in 2003. The gains brought the total
number of children in Illinois covered by the comprehensive health
care program to 1,097,368.
"Delivering health care for kids is one of the key priorities for
my administration, and I'm very encouraged that we are succeeding in
our effort to reach out and enroll more children in the KidCare
program," the governor said. "But just because we've added 100,000
children and reached 110 percent of our goal, that doesn't mean
we're going to ease up our outreach campaign. If there are children
who are eligible for KidCare and don't have health coverage, we want
them signed up so they can get the health care they need."
Barry Maram, director of the Department of Public Aid, said that
the department has stepped up its outreach efforts in the last year
by partnering with local school systems and by working more closely
with its network of more than 1,100 KidCare application agents
around the state. The Blagojevich administration has also joined
with private sector partners, such as Jewel-Osco, to promote the
"Gov. Blagojevich's strong leadership has made it possible for
Illinois to set an example that the rest of the nation is looking to
when it comes to delivering health care for children," Maram said.
A series of recent studies by the authoritative Kaiser Commission
on Medicaid and the Uninsured has documented how Illinois under the
Blagojevich administration has been a national leader in expanding
access to health care for children and families.
According to a Kaiser Commission report in July, Illinois was
second in the nation in the second half of 2003 in the number of
children added to its State Children's Health Insurance Program,
which funds a portion of KidCare. The same report said that Illinois
was first in the nation in adding parents to SCHIP, increasing
enrollment of parents by 227 percent.
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In October, a more recent report by the Kaiser
Commission stated: "Although Illinois has experienced the same
fiscal pressures that have been constraining other states, expanding
and improving health coverage programs has remained high on its
agenda. The state continues to utilize the trio of strategies that
have proved successful in reducing the ranks of the uninsured:
expanding eligibility, removing procedural barriers and conducting
The report adds that the "ambitious efforts have paid off."
In July 2003, Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation that expanded
the eligibility level for children under SCHIP from 185 percent to
200 percent of the federal poverty level.
"In 2003 my administration delivered on its commitment to extend
eligibility for KidCare to 20,000 more children," Blagojevich said.
"This means that children in a family of four earning up to almost
$40,000 a year are now eligible for full health coverage. It's clear
that our outreach efforts are paying off."
Also in July 2003, eligibility for FamilyCare, which covers
parents, was expanded from 49 percent to 90 percent of the poverty
Then in the current year, the administration further expanded
FamilyCare eligibility to 133 percent of the poverty level. The
Department of Public Aid projects that the new expansion will
eventually cover an additional 56,000 working parents. It pushed the
income level for coverage from $16,968 for a family of four to
The Department of Public Aid has also recently made enrollment in
KidCare easier and faster by streamlining the application process to
require only one paycheck stub for income verification and by
adopting "presumptive eligibility, which makes children immediately
eligible for coverage once a parent submits an application stating
they meet the program's income threshold.
Information and applications for KidCare and FamilyCare, as well
as a complete list of KidCare application agents around the state,
are available at
Applications are also available from the KidCare toll-free line at 1
(866) 4-OUR-KIDS [1 (866) 468-7543].
[News release from the