August 5, 2008 - 2:43PM
SAN JUAN — Parents can pick up their child's health insurance when they go on a milk run this month.
Local social service organizations are set to answer questions about the Texas Children's Health Insurance Program and Children's Medicaid each Saturday through Aug. 30 at several H.E.B. stores in the area. Tables will be set up inside select stores from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visitors can get help filling out applications and 12-month renewals, and pick up information on whether their children qualify for the aid.
CHIP and Children's Medicaid serve overlapping populations of low-income Texans. For a family with three children, CHIP's income cap is $35,200 per year, while Medicaid will provide additional insurance to a family of the same size making less than $17,600.
Proponents are careful to note that parents' immigration status is not relevant to their children's coverage, as long as the children are legal residents. Julie Lara, social services program manager at H.E.B., said there are an estimated 800,000 Texan children who qualify for one or both of the programs but are not enrolled.
"Kids who don't have health and medical care are more likely to get sick and spend time outside of the classroom," particularly those with manageable disorders like asthma and diabetes, said Geoffrey Wool, a Health and Human Services Commission spokesman.
"We want to put children on the path to a more healthy and productive lifestyle."
Sara Perkins covers Mission, western Hidalgo County, Starr County and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4472