BREWER – Hundreds of children from all over the area found their way on Saturday to the brightly colored bounce house set up at Brewer Auditorium and spent the day having fun and getting free back-to-school supplies.
While the children played, their parents learned all there is to know about MaineCare, the state’s low-income insurance.
“We estimate approximately 200 children attended our event,” Maria Staples, events coordinator for Penquis Community Action Program’s Family Enrichment program, said Tuesday. “Every child that came though got a bag of school supplies.”
The free event is part of a nationwide initiative, the Covering Kids and Family campaign, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to promote families enrolling in state-funded insurance programs.
“We want them [parents] to put enrolling in a children’s health care coverage program at the top of their back to school checklist,” Staples said. “The purpose [of the event] was to promote and assist families eligible for the MaineCare benefit.”
MaineCare provides checkups, immunizations, treatment for illness or injury, hospitalization, mental health and substance abuse treatment, X-rays, prescriptions, physical and occupational therapy, dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids and more to enrollees.
“It looks like there are 21,000 children without health insurance in Maine and 11,000 of these children qualify for, but are not enrolled in, MaineCare,” Staples said.
A family of four can make $3,225 a month and still qualify for MaineCare under new income guidelines.
Many local businesses donated items to the event, including Office Max, Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart, along with nearly a dozen others. Bangor Hydro also handed out fingerprint kits to children on Saturday.
The local Covering Kids and Family event is in its fifth year and is growing every year, with more than double the number of attendees this year compared to last year, according to organizers.
For information about how to sign up for MaineCare, contact Maria Staples at Penquis CAP, 973-3586.