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Owners of the Pink Lady America apple brand and the Health Care Authority (HCA) are teaming up to provide free and low-cost health coverage for low-income children via the Apple Health for Kids program.
No money is involved in the apple-kids partnership, which will include industry assistance in helping the program recruit uninsured low-income children – delivering Apple Health for Kids information to major growers and shippers willing to join the effort. Subsequent efforts may include projects like combining Apple Health for Kids messages with diet and nutritional information.
“The bottom line is reaching out to uninsured children and their families,” said HCA director Doug Porter. “Children are our future, and Washington State has a long tradition of making them and their health care one of our highest priorities.”
In 2010, the state created the Apple Health for Kids program, which provides free health care for children in families below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and low-premium coverage for families between 201 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty index. Parents in the latter category also pay small monthly premiums for their children.
“When we happened upon the name ‘Apple Health for Kids’ attached to a state health insurance program our curiosity was of course elevated,” says Alan Taylor, Pink Lady America marketing director. “Anytime we see children and apples linked together, with our efforts directed toward healthy eating for young people, we like to be a part of it.”
“Health care coverage doesn’t just help when your children are sick,” Taylor said. “It also covers preventative care like immunizations, physical exams, and dental check-ups.”
Health Care Authority Director Porter said the apple growers’ interest was welcome. He said he hoped other Washington apple brands and orchards would join the effort.
“The fruit industry has a natural tie in not only with healthy diets. It also relies on a largely migrant and seasonal workforce, including many families that have trouble finding adequate children’s coverage in the private market,” he said.
Taylor said he thought the promotion would be a valuable public service for Pink Lady American apple growers. “We see this as a service to a great many parents with children in the fruit industry as it makes a lot of sense for them to have this coverage and to also be aware of the preventative elements of which they should be taking advantage.”
“Like everyone, we are all parents and grandparents who have a stake in healthy children, and I know we were stunned to learn that there are thousands of Washington children who are eligible for this coverage right now but who have not applied for it.”
In many cases, Taylor sums, “Their parents simply don’t realize they qualify and that the coverage is there, waiting for them.”