Back-To-School Press Conference Spotlights Impact of National Health Reform Provisions on Texas Children

Back-To-School Press Conference Spotlights Impact of National Health Reform Provisions on Texas Children

September Marks Initial Policy Implementation, Local Sign-Up Opportunities

Houston, TX – On Wednesday, September 1 at 8:30 am, Fiesta Mart, Inc and UnitedHealthcare of Texas joined the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to host a Back-to-School press briefing to spotlight a few important provisions of national health reform that will mean BIG changes for Texas kids this month and to launch a “Back-to-School” enrollment effort to sign kids up for coverage.

United Healthcare of Texas Vice President Carl Kidd said, “as a community, we cannot afford not to reverse the high numbers of uninsured wherever they are -- through schools, through enrollment drives, through community awareness…”

The press conference was timed as several important provisions of national health reform legislation will be implemented this month.

Beginning September 23rd, young adults over age 18 will be able to remain enrolled in their parents’ group health plans until they turn 26. This provision will protect more than 1,000,000 college-age students and young adults in Texas until they get their first professional job and are offered their own insurance benefits through their employer. Second, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage or carve out certain benefits to children under age 19 because of pre-existing conditions. This change is estimated to help more than 270,000 Texas children who, until now, have been at risk of being denied coverage. Families who have struggled to find affordable ways to get needed medical care for their children can now breathe a big sigh of relief. These same reforms will go into effect for adults in 2014.

Reform legislation also strengthened the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Children's Medicaid by extending and protecting benefits from being cut. To help families take advantage of these important opportunities and especially as kids have just started back-to-school, the Children's Defense Fund of Texas has teamed up with Fiesta supermarkets to host three Saturday Sign-Up opportunities during the month of September for families with qualifying children to apply for affordable health coverage.

In outlining priorities for the upcoming 82nd legislative session, Children’s Defense Fund Texas Interim Executive Director Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus said, "Children's advocates will be urging state leaders to take a balanced approach to balancing the budget, to identify or enhance new sources of revenue to bridge the budget gap before cutting critical programs for children and other vulnerable Texans that bring billions of dollars to our state’s economy." Dr. Guerra-Cardus also lauded the new leadership at HHSC for recently taking important steps to streamline and improve efficiency in the state's eligibility and enrollment system that processes CHIP and Children's Medicaid applications, but cautioned that we must not abandon these gains.


Saturday Sign-Up Events in September

When: September 11th • September 18th • September 25th
  10:00am - 2:00pm
Where: Fiesta Marts (Houston, Texas)
  2323 Wirt Road (Kempwood)
  4711 Airline Drive (Berry)
  800 South Wayside Drive (Polk)
  6200 Bellaire Boulevard (Hillcroft)
  14315 Bellaire Boulevard (Highway 6)
What families should bring:  
  Copy of Recent Pay stubs, SSI, Child Support, or Tax Returns
  Copy of Child's; Birth Certificate
  Copy of child care expenses (if applicable)


For more information call 713-664-4080 or visit


About Children's Defense Fund

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to affordable healthcare, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.

The CDF Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.