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Rules change but parents don’t get their kids new health cards

Date Posted: 2010-09-30

The number of children living without national health insurance is increasing, and that’s worrying officials because a July 1st change to the law permits underage kids to have insurance regardless of family status.

The problem, officials say, is that kids under 18 years of age are entitled to have temporary health cards even if parents don’t pay the health insurance premiums. The trouble is, parents are not signing up to register their children. Before the law changed, 5,031 Okinawa children were in the program, but since the new program kicked in, the number’s dropped to 1,500.

Naha City and Urasoe City offices say they’ve sent health cards to the children’s addresses, so they can see doctors. Each municipality is sending letters and even making house calls to insure families know about the temporary health cards. They say many people indicate they’re not aware of the changes to the law. Officials say at least 1,508 Okinawa children under age 18 are without health insurance, even though they’re entitled to it.

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