Free or Low-Cost Health Coverage Helps Kids Get in the Game

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Each fall, school and community athletic fields are filled with four-year-olds taking their first kick at a soccer ball and high-school seniors practicing in hopes of reaching the state championship football game. At every age, children who play sports learn lessons about teamwork and the value of both winning and losing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are part of sports teams have more energy, perform better in school and are successful long after they leave the field.
Approximately 5 million uninsured kids in the U.S. may not experience the benefits of playing on a team. These kids often miss out because they can’t afford the necessary physical or treatment if they get hurt. Jackie, a 13-year-old eager to go out for her school’s track team, was one of those kids until her family learned that health coverage is available through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Across the country CHIP and Medicaid offer free or low-cost health coverage for kids. Generally, a family of four that earns up to $45,000 a year can get their kids covered. Once enrolled, kids can get doctor and dentist visits, vision and hearing care, hospital care, mental health services, regular check-ups and shots, and needed treatment, including prescription drugs.
Upon learning that Jackie did not have health insurance and that her mother had suffered a heart attack before age 50, the school nurse knew Jackie would need more than a general sports physical to be cleared to participate in track. The nurse connected Jackie and her Mom with an outreach worker who helped enroll Jackie in the state’s health coverage program. Within two days, Jackie went to a primary care provider, and tests indicated a potential heart syndrome. She was referred to a cardiologist, who, after further exams, gave Jackie the green light for track.
Learning about available health coverage programs did more than get Jackie on the team, it potentially saved her life — Jackie is covered both on and off the field. Kids with insurance generally have better health throughout their childhood and into their teens. They are sick less often, get the treatment they need when they are not feeling well and are less likely to miss school — or a big game — due to illness.
Families with uninsured children can get connected to the CHIP or Medicaid programs in their states by visiting or calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW.

Millions of Uninsured Kids Could Be Eligible for Health Coverage

<b>Millions of Uninsured Kids Could Be Eligible for Health Coverage</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Each year, millions of children in the United States go without health insurance. A fall 2009 Johns Hopkins study reports that about 17,000 American children may have died over the last two decades because they did not have health coverage.

The good news? American families may be eligible for children’s health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid, which provide low-cost health insurance for kids.

There are a number of reasons a child might not have health insurance — perhaps a parent or guardian has lost a job that provided health coverage, or they do not have access to health insurance through work. For some, the cost of insurance is simply too high. Whatever the reason, a family’s uninsured kids may be eligible for children’s health insurance now, even if they have been turned down in the past.

Who Qualifies?

Often, families think they cannot get health insurance coverage for their children because they make too much money or because they have been turned down in the past, but they may be surprised. Eligibility varies by state, but in most, a family of four who earns up to $44,000 a year may be eligible for low-cost coverage.

What Is Covered?

With CHIP and Medicaid, children can get the regular check-ups and immunizations required to attend school and play sports. Most programs also cover dental care and prescription drugs. Also, in most cases, children can see the same doctor every time they get sick, providing consistency for families and allowing them to avoid long waits in the emergency room.

Why Does a Child Need Health Insurance?

Research indicates that children with health insurance are more likely to have better health throughout their childhood and into their teens. They are sick less often, get the treatment they need when they are not feeling well and are less likely to miss school due to illness, which means fewer lost work days for their parents or guardians.

A parent or guardian who wants to determine whether their kids are eligible for children’s health insurance can make a free, confidential call to 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669) to speak with a CHIP or Medicaid representative in their state.

Families can also visit There, parents and guardians can link directly to their state’s Medicaid or CHIP program, find a list of local providers and get additional information about children’s health insurance. In most states, families can complete their applications and submit them without having to take time off work.

Caring for Kitty’s Cheshire Cat Grin

<b>Caring for Kitty’s Cheshire Cat Grin</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Cat owners are known for their devotion — but many have never given their cat’s teeth a second thought. No wonder that, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 70 percent of cats have gum disease by age three.

Cats rarely get cavities — their diets are very low in sugar — but they can develop many of the same health problems that occur in people, such as periodontal disease and gingivitis. Symptoms may include red, bleeding or sensitive gums and weight loss caused by the cat’s inability to eat. Bad breath, too, can herald more serious health problems. If a cat displays any of these symptoms, it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

While you should schedule dental check-ups with your veterinarian twice a year, taking care of your cat’s smile begins at home. Here are some tips:

– Brush your cat’s teeth. Frequent brushing is the best thing you can do for your cat’s pearly whites. Never use products intended for humans. Instead, choose a flavored cat toothpaste -; your cat will like fish or chicken — and a pet toothbrush. Gently introduce toothbrushing, first by letting your cat taste the toothpaste, then by gently stroking its canines to get it used to you touching its teeth.

It’s best to brush your cat’s teeth daily, but cleaning its teeth once or twice a week will go a long way in keeping your cat’s mouth healthy.

– Use oral probiotics. If your cat’s mouth could use some aesthetic (and odor) improvement, try putting probiotics in its food. Dr. Jeffrey D. Hillman, D.M.D.,

Ph.D. and chief medical officer for Oragenics, has studied oral probiotics for 25 years. He recently developed Teddy’s Pride (, an oral probiotic designed especially for pets. Probiotics, or “good” bacteria, crowd out the bacteria that cause bad breath, while also releasing low-level hydrogen peroxide to naturally whiten teeth.

– Watch what your cat eats. Chewing dry kibble can help break plaque off your cat’s teeth. You can purchase dental cat food or dental chews, but these can’t clean teeth completely, so only use them in conjunction with brushing. Try to avoid feeding your cat table scraps, which often contain more sugar than cat food and can contribute to plaque build-up and cavities.

For more information, visit

What Is Your Personal Disability Quotient?

<b>What Is Your Personal Disability Quotient?</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The faltering economy has left many people worried about keeping their jobs. But too few Americans consider another possibility — that a disability could leave them unable to work.

Accidents or illness can happen to anyone at any time. According to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), one in seven workers can expect to be disabled for five years or more before retirement. According to the Social Security Administration, three in 10 workers entering the workforce today will become disabled.

A disability that forces a person to miss work can make them financially vulnerable. With many Americans struggling simply to stay afloat, the inability to work can be devastating. Even temporary disability can jeopardize savings, retirement funds and homes.

“We are currently facing many economic challenges, and it’s important that people don’t lose sight of, or fail to recognize, the threat that disability can pose to their financial security,” said Bob Taylor, president of CDA. “Never has it been more important for people to be mindful of the chances they face of suffering an illness or accident and thus losing the ability to earn an income. Never has the ability to earn an income been more important.”

To help people realize their risk of disability, the CDA created its new disability estimator, designed to determine an individual’s Personality Disability Quotient (PDQ), the percentage chance a person has of an illness or injury forcing them to miss work. The PDQ estimator, found at the Web site, calculates a person’s chances of becoming disabled for an extended period of time. The PDQ also helps users see how much income they could lose, so they can financially plan for disability.

All Americans should make sure that they can cover their bills, make house and car payments and continue paying money into their retirement accounts in case of a disability. Individuals can also take steps to lower their chances of disability, like receiving regular check-ups, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking everyday precautions — some as simple as using their seat belt. It’s important for all Americans to be engaged in disability planning.

For more information about preparing for disability, visit

Boomers Can Reduce Future Medical Costs

<b>Boomers Can Reduce Future Medical Costs</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As the boomer generation ages, its members enter the healthcare system in increasing numbers and often incur large costs. By making small changes now, many future health problems and related expenses can be prevented. Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit health plan with solutions for high-quality healthcare coverage at a reasonable price, offers these tips to help preserve your health and vitality well into the golden years:

– Stay active. Getting 30 minutes of physical activity just three days a week will help you lower blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, prevent bone density loss, and keep your muscular and cardiovascular systems strong. Gardening, golfing and dancing can help you stay lively while enjoying yourself.

– Stay involved. Mental and physical fitness are equally important. Staying involved in your community, whether through friends or volunteer work, will help you achieve mental and emotional balance.

– Eat well. It’s never too late to adopt healthy habits. A diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and other lean proteins will lessen your risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and other expensive-to-treat conditions.

– See your doctor before you feel sick. Frequent check-ups can help catch health concerns before they develop into chronic disease. Vision, dental and dermatology exams are important. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to Medline Plus – U.S. National Library of Medicine, and people over the age of 50 are at higher risk. Work with your doctor to arrange an ongoing check-up schedule.

– Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory disease. It’s never too late to quit – your body begins recovering within minutes after you stop smoking, according to

– Be mindful of prescriptions. The average older person is taking more than four prescription drugs at once, plus two over-the-counter medications. When two or more drugs are mixed in the body, they may interact and produce uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects. Be proactive about having doctors or pharmacists check for possible drug interactions. Also try switching to generic drugs to save 30 percent or more on the average prescription.

For more healthy living tips and resources, visit Blue Shield online at