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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

Help Sought for Health Insurance Applicants

October 06, 1998|HOLLY EDWARDS

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles is seeking volunteers to help people apply for the Healthy Families Program, which provides health insurance for uninsured children, ages 1 to 19, in low-income working families.

Initiated in July, the $197-million federal- and state-funded program provides coverage for doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, dental care and glasses, said Peter Anderson, deputy director of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which administers the program.

"It's the same health-care coverage offered to state senators and congressmen and the governor," Anderson said. "It's really the Cadillac plan."

Volunteers will be trained to offer assistance completing the Healthy Families application, which is "very complex," said Sally Weber, director of Volunteer Services for Jewish Family Service.

"We want enough volunteers that we can offer a lot of geographic locations where people can go to apply for the program," Weber said.

Jewish Family Service has nine centers in the Los Angeles area, including two in the Valley: 22622 Vanowen St. in West Hills and 12821 Victory Blvd. in North Hollywood.

Designed for families who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal but can't afford health insurance, the Healthy Families Program is designed to provide health-care coverage for the approximately 400,000 uninsured children in the state.

There are about 173,000 uninsured children in Los Angeles County.

"It's really the working poor who benefit from this," Weber said. "Families can choose their health-care insurance provider, and family premiums range from $4 to $27 a month."

Income cut-off levels depend upon a variety of factors, Weber said, but in general, a family of four can earn no more than $12,800 to $24,800 annually.

For more information about volunteer training at Jewish Family Service centers, call (323) 761-8800. Or, for information about the Healthy Families Program, call toll-free (800) 880-5305.

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