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BLUE CROSS OF CALIFORNIA EXPANDS CALIFORNIAKIDS TO SACRAMENTO

 Program Meets Needs Of Uninsured Children,
 Plays Important Role in BCC Partnership Effort
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross of California, the state's largest non-profit insurance carrier, announced today the expansion of CaliforniaKids into the Sacramento area. CaliforniaKids is the state's first corporate-sponsored, community-based program to provide primary and preventive healthcare coverage to uninsured children. The announcement was made at MedClinic, a Blue Cross of California health maintenance organization. MedClinic is the first clinic to service the program in Sacramento.
 More than 2 million children in California lack health insurance because their parents either can't afford private health insurance, don't receive group insurance through work or aren't eligible for public health care services.
 As a part of its California Health Care Partnerships program, Blue Cross of California decided to address the problem of uninsured children by piloting CaliforniaKids in Los Angeles County in July of 1992. In the past year, the program has grown to include Ventura, Oxnard and Oakland, Alameda and Contra Costa County. More than 300 children are receiving insurance.
 The Sacramento expansion will mean that approximately 200 Sacramento-area children will receive health care this year. More children will be added to the program as more sponsors join the effort.
 "CaliforniaKids provides primary and preventive health care designed to meet the typical health needs of children," explained Michael Koch, CaliforniaKids executive director. "The program covers routine physical exams and immunizations and doctor office visits if a child is ill or injured. A small co-payment of five dollars is paid per office visit and for prescription drugs. We find most families are happy to participate in the health of their children. It is an empowering activity," he said.
 The program is supported by the non-profit CaliforniaKids Foundation, established to coordinate support from businesses, foundations, religious organizations, individuals and civic and community groups. Tax-exempt contributions are used to purchase health benefits for eligible children. In addition to Blue Cross of California, CaliforniaKids is sponsored by Procter & Gamble Crest Brand, California Community Foundation, Merck & Co., Great Western Bank, Ralphs Grocery Co., Trak Automotive and others.
 As a founding sponsor, BCC provided program seed money and donates all administrative program costs so that 100 percent of the funds raised go to supporting benefits for the children. BCC's health maintenance organization, CaliforniaCare, accepts CaliforniaKids reimbursement as full payment.
 "CaliforniaKids is part of a larger partnership program developed by Blue Cross of California called California Health Care Partnerships, a program that includes research, model programs, like CaliforniaKids, and consumer education programs," said Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman and chief executive officer of Blue Cross. "In the near future, we will be launching more California Health Care Partnerships in Sacramento because we believe shared responsibility is the only effective way to reform the health care system," he said.
 Inquiries about the program can be obtained by calling Koch, CaliforniaKids executive director, 800-374-4KID.
 -0- 6/29/93
 /CONTACT: Shelly Fischer of Pacific/West Communications Group, 213-487-0830 ext. 202, for Blue Cross of California/


CO: Blue Cross of California ST: California IN: INS HEA SU: PDT

LM-JL -- LA025 -- 6898 06/29/93 17:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 29, 1993
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