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Children’s healthcare in Fairbanks could be just a text away

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.(Ryan Osborne)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 4:09 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF)- In these uncertain times health services are more important than ever, and a new method of accessing children’s healthcare is now available to Alaskans. The Alaska Children’s Trust and Alaska 211 have teamed up to launch a new texting service to provide ease-of-use access to Denali KidCare.

Trevor Storrs, President and CEO of the Alaska Children’s Trust Denali told us,“Denali Kidcare is Medicaid for kids. It’s a specific program that supports health coverage for our children. It’s an essential program especially during these times of COVID-19”

Denali Kidcare offers healthcare coverage programs for children up to age 18, and pregnant women who meet the income requirements.

In our interview, Storrs explained why this new program is so important for Alaskans in 2020. “We know here in our state we have the second highest rate of uninsured children. Approximately 9.4% of children here in Alaska are uninsured, and the national average is 5.2%. We know a lot of kids most likely qualify for Denali Kidcare but aren’t aware of it. So one of the ways to not only spread the word, but more importantly to get rid of any potential barriers to families, is to offer texting. Everybody has a smartphone, everybody utilizes it. So it’s a great way of connecting our families who are busy and active to explore, if they do not have health coverage [for their child], if they qualify for Denali Kidcare.” Trevor said

This new texting service allows Fairbanks parents to text “KidCare” to the number 898211. Parents who text will receive a few basic questions and then be connected to a navigator at United Way’s 211 phone line. The navigator will be able quickly and easily enroll their children in the health coverage program if they qualify.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to reduce any barriers families have to accessing this important service. So we encourage families [to know] if your children do not have health insurance, they most likely qualify for Denali Kidcare. And please text 898211 and text them “Kidcare,” said Storrs

The new texting service will complement the current system that allows people to enroll either via phone, website or in-person.

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