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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

April 18, 2002

ATTENTION EMPLOYERS: AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR UNINSURED AND LOW-INCOME CHILDREN

  Charlotte, NC -- Mecklenburg County employers who've had to cut back on family health care benefits for their workforce can offer employees information about a government program that could help their children. 

North Carolina Health Choice for Children is a state and federal government funded insurance program that provides health insurance coverage for uninsured and low-income children under age 19. The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) processes applications for the program. The DSS Economic Services Division (ESD) has an on-going effort to spread the word about the program. Outreach to the business community is a new push. 

"We want families to have access to the best services and programs that will help keep children healthy and safe," said Richard W. "Jake" Jacobsen, DSS director. "Partnering with the business community to make people aware of NC Health Choice provides DSS with an excellent opportunity." 

This month 2,600 applications have been mailed to 526 day cares and homes. Also, ESD workers held an on-site information workshop in Spanish, and one in English, for employees of a local hotel. 

"This is our first big effort to try to take the applications to an industry," said Diana Tini, assistant director of ESD. She has asked the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce to put information about NC Health Choice on its Web site to help reach businesses negatively affected by the economy. 

Mecklenburg County has 4,300 children enrolled in the program, Tini said, and the state's cap is 82,000. The federal poverty rates, which change each April, set the income limits and determine who qualifies. A family of four with a monthly income of  $3,017 qualifies for the insurance.  

Applications are available at DSS at 301 Billingsley Road in Charlotte, and at the Mecklenburg County Health Department. Call 704-336-8422 to request an application by mail. Visit www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dma/cpcont.htm to get a copy of the application on-line.



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