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Internet Comes to Rescue of 14 Million Uninsured in U.S.; Providing Access to Gov. Health Programs They're Not Aware of
Date:1/16/2008

Pioneering Nonprofit Simplifies Enrollment Process

SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing studies indicating that nearly 33% of the 47 million uninsured in America are eligible for government-sponsored health insurance but aren't signed up, the Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) has captured, on a single website database, more than 144 government-sponsored programs to help people in need of health coverage.

Combined with the service capabilities of the nonprofit's 24/7 live U.S. Uninsured Help Line (1-800-234-1317), the goal is to add Internet support in an effort to reduce the bureaucratic steps needed to apply for government-paid health coverage. The move to an Internet-based application process is an effort to help solve a serious problem that experts believe factors into why such a high percentage of the country's uninsured are not availing themselves of the current government assistance programs.

"In Los Angeles County, for example, it usually requires two scheduled appointments at a social services agency and the time and ability of an applicant to answer a 100-question document as a first step to getting enrolled in California's Medi-Cal program. This arduous process in addition to possible transportation issues and literacy challenges keep thousands of people from enrolling," said Phil Lebherz, founder and executive director of FHCE.

Providing access to online applications for every state in the country is the latest advancement in the nonprofit's services which offer practical, easy-to-access tools to educate those who are eligible about their coverage options. Visitors can go to the FHCE website and click on the State by State application link where they can identify government health coverage offerings for the three federal programs (Medicaid, Medicare and Veterans) in addition to each state's individual program applications. Some programs have applications that can be printed out and others have links to the correct municipal program.

Website visitors can first take the simple 5-Question Eligibility Quiz online at http://www.coverageforall.org or phone the U.S. Uninsured Help Line at 800-234-1317 and talk with a live counselor to learn about their health coverage options. The series of questions is a starting point for the Fresno, California-based call center's staff who guide each caller through their options and to the appropriate state-sponsored program.

The U.S. Uninsured Help Line was launched two years ago initially to help the estimated 6.8 million uninsured Californians get coverage. Getting the word out has been primarily through radio and newspaper public service announcements, articles and word of mouth through the health care, social services and insurance broker communities.

The organization's "Coverage For All" campaign tools include the following:

-- The free U.S. Uninsured Help Line (1-800-234-1317) provides live,

one-on-one assistance and is staffed 24/7 with friendly information

specialists and interpreters who speak multiple languages, provide

basic screening for both public and private health coverage, help

callers identify their potential options and connect them to health

coverage representatives to sign-up for coverage.

-- The 5-Question Eligibility Quiz online tool at

http://www.coverageforall.org provides visitors with a customized

profile of all public and private health coverage options in the U.S.

for which family members may qualify.

-- The Health Care Options Matrix (available for all 50 states), outlines

public and private health coverage options, including type of coverage,

eligibility, and monthly costs. The brochure is also useful for

front-line workers helping the uninsured find coverage, such as social

workers or health care professionals, and can be downloaded by going to

http://www.coverageforall.org.

Through a sustained partnership with Blue Cross of California Foundation, FHCE has become a resource in making quality health care accessible to all. "Creating greater access to public health insurance programs that are already in place will help us reduce the ranks of the uninsured," said Lebherz.

The Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 public organization based in San Jose, California.

Media Contacts:

Marilyn Haese

Bobbi Rubinstein

Haese & Wood

(310) 556-9612

mhaese@haesewood.com


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SOURCE Foundation for Health Coverage Education
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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