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PROGRAM FOR UNINSURED MICHIGAN CHILDREN RECEIVES $250,000 GRANT

 PROGRAM FOR UNINSURED MICHIGAN CHILDREN RECEIVES $250,000 GRANT
 DETROIT, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 700 uninsured Michigan children from 58 counties are receiving preventive health care coverage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) today, thanks to a $250,000 grant from The Skillman Foundation to the new Caring Program for Children.
 The Caring Program for Children is a joint non-profit program by BCBSM, the State of Michigan and the Michigan Health Care Education and Research Foundation (MHCERF) that provides free preventive coverage to eligible uninsured children under age 19 through donations from groups and individuals.
 "We want to express our deepest thanks to The Skillman Foundation for taking the lead in launching this effort to help uninsured kids receive the health care they need and deserve," said Richard E. Whitmer, BCBSM president and chief executive officer.
 "This is a great start," Whitmer said. "With the continued support of the community, we can make a difference ... one child at a time."
 Today's announcement brings the number of enrolled children to 907 since the program began offering benefits last November. Approximately 2,000 youngsters remain on the program's waiting list.
 Enrolled children receive a special package of outpatient services, including office visits, outpatient surgery, immunizations, emergency care, prescription drugs, and X-rays and other diagnostic services. Hospitalization is not included.
 BCBSM donates administrative services, including claims processing, so every private dollar raised goes directly to health services for children. The State of Michigan helps inform eligible families and is seeking the release of federal matching funds. MHCERF, BCBSM's non-profit affiliate, is the program's official sponsor.
 "The Skillman Foundation's contribution, and one made earlier by the Metro Health Foundation, are good examples of how foundations can work together to help solve critical societal problems such as access to health care," said Ira Strumwasser, MHCERF executive director.
 "We hope to integrate the Caring Program into the fabric of our communities by involving Michigan's comprehensive network of community foundations in the program," Strumwasser said.
 The program provides services to children who are Michigan residents and not eligible for Medicaid or other public or private health care coverage, except the state's Children's Special Health Care Services program.
 To qualify, all eligible children in a household must apply. The household's income must be at or below 185 percent of the poverty level. The maximum income for a family of four is $24,792.
 Donations in any amount are welcome. A contribution of $354 will cover one child for a year. Contributors of $3,540 or more may earmark their donation for a particular school, city or county.
 Donations can be made to the Caring Program for Children, Department B241, 600 E. Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48226. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Caring Program for Children Fund. Donations are tax-deductible. The donor information line is 1-800-543-7765.
 Families must apply for coverage by submitting enrollment applications, which are available by calling BCBSM at 1-800-848-5101.
 The Skillman Foundation was founded in 1960 by Rose P. Skillman, widow of Robert H. Skillman, vice president and director of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. It is a private, grant-making foundation headquartered in Detroit with assets of $330 million. Foundation makes grants in the areas of children, youth and young persons, basic human needs, communitywide collaborative efforts, culture and arts, and education.
 -0- 2/3/92
 /CONTACT: Rude Difazio, 313-225-8113, or Helen Stojic, 313-225-7975, both of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan/ CO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan; The Skillman Foundation ST: Michigan IN: HEA INS SU:


JG-SB -- DE019 -- 6353 02/03/92 16:45 EST
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