Gov. urges parents to put healthcare at top of back to school list

Tens of thousands of Tennessee children without health insurance now have an opportunity to get covered.

While families at the Whitehaven Walmart stocked up on tax free school supplies, Governor Phil Bredesen reminded them to put healthcare at the top of their back to school list.

"There are about 127,000 children in Tennessee who are uninsured and I'm on a mission to get them into CoverKids," said Gov. Bredesen.

Bredesen was in Memphis Saturday as part of a state-wide tour promoting Tennessee's CoverKids health insurance program.

Bredesen added, "It is a great program. Its basically comprehensive free health insurance for a huge number of Tennesseans but I need to enroll them in the program the way it works."

The healthcare program for children under 18 started earlier this year. So far only 4000 kids have signed up, even though the state can afford to insure more than 125,000.

"What I really need is the help of the schools. I need the help of churches and so on to get out and get these kids enrolled."

Coverkids is for families making too much money to qualify for Tenncare. A family of four is eligible as long as their annual household income doesn't exceed $51,000.

"I'd say to parents sitting at home this is what you've been asking for. This is free insurance for your kids. Please come down and sign them up," said Bredesen.

Bredesen hopes his personal appearances to promote CoverKids will send a message to parents, that affordable healthcare is out there for kids who can't afford to be without it.


to email Anna Marie Hartman.