Ravens' Boulware lending support to Carroll Co. health insurance effort

August 05, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware will break from training at McDaniel College tomorrow to urge uninsured Carroll County families to enroll in a low-cost or free health insurance program.

Boulware, a spokesman for the Covering Kids & Families Coalition, will speak at a junior football training camp to encourage families to take part in the Maryland Children Health Program, which covers the cost of doctors' visits, hospitalization and prescriptions.

"We want to make sure we're reaching those families that would be eligible," said Linda Reynolds-Wise, the health program's director. "There's no sense in going without coverage if we can provide it to them."

As part of the program's annual back-to-school drive, Reynolds-Wise and her staff will be at the junior training camp - for children whose families have coverage - next to the Ravens' field to answer questions and enroll prospective children from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

More than 1,800 children in Carroll County have been enrolled in the program since its inception in 1999, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Organizers believe as many as 77,000 children statewide have no health insurance coverage.

Under the program, families of four with an income up to $54,000 a year are eligible for free or low-cost services, depending on income.

"Parents that don't have health care coverage delay taking their kids to the doctor and tend to use the emergency room rather than preventative doctor's visits," Reynolds-Wise said.

That lack of coverage causes children to suffer needlessly in school - they often don't hear teachers, see the blackboard or are too sick to concentrate. "These things are keeping kids from learning," she said.

Families that can't make it to the signup can call 800-456-8900 or contact the local health department to arrange enrollment.

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