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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Teens, don't pass up free medical insurance

Teenagers from moderate- to low-income families should jump on the latest deal to keep them healthy.

The state wants to hear from 14,000 teenagers who probably don't know that they qualify for free medical insurance under the Hawai'i Covering Kids campaign, which enables families to treat minor health problems before they get serious.

In this case, the state received $35 million for the teen insurance project, and was required to match it on a 70-30 percent basis. However, Hawai'i will lose $14 million of that amount if it isn't spent by the end of next month.

An estimated 22,000 children under the age of 19 in Hawai'i are uninsured, and 14,000 of them are potentially eligible for QUEST or Medicaid health insurance programs.

So we urge families to find out if they qualify for this program, which provides regular checkups, emergency care, immunizations, counseling, prescription medicines and dental care.

All too often, people without medical insurance are forced to ignore health problems and end up in the emergency room when they get critical. This is a way to remedy that.

For more information about free QUEST and Medicaid health insurance, go to the Hawai'i Covering Kids Web site or call 211, Aloha United Way's free 24-hour community hotline service.