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Health-o-Ween Hand-In-Hand With Halloween

PHOTO: Elementary school student Lev Goldman spoke at Health-o-Ween, a Halloween-themed campaign aimed at ethnic communities, with information on free and low-cost health coverage launched with an event in Framingham Wednesday in advance of the upcoming open enrollment period. Photo courtesy Health Care For All.
PHOTO: Elementary school student Lev Goldman spoke at Health-o-Ween, a Halloween-themed campaign aimed at ethnic communities, with information on free and low-cost health coverage launched with an event in Framingham Wednesday in advance of the upcoming open enrollment period. Photo courtesy Health Care For All.
October 16, 2014

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – What's scarier than a child without medical insurance?

Not much, say the folks behind the Halloween-themed public launch of an enrollment drive held Wednesday in Framingham.

Pumpkins were the decorations at the news event where health insurance was the treat and getting eligible families signed up, the trick.

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All explains the Health-o-Ween campaign.

"Our point is for parents to consider the fact that the best present children can get for Halloween is being connected to health care coverage," she says.

It's part of the Connecting Kids to Coverage initiative to raise awareness about the open enrollment period beginning mid-November.

The goal is to reach ethnic communities with information on free and low-cost health coverage options for eligible children and teens. Otherwise, health care advocates say, Halloween's "Boo!" could turn into boo-hoos.

Lev Goldman, 12, who attends the Park School in Brookline, will be appearing in ads and public service announcements on the issue.

He says professionals treated an anxiety disorder he had – something prohibitively expensive without insurance.

"I probably wouldn't be able to travel on a car or a plane well, I couldn't go and stay at my friends' houses,” he explains. “There's a lot of things that I am now able to do that I wouldn't have been able to do if I didn't get that help through health insurance."

Whitcomb Slemmer says there's a timely link to the Connect Kids to Coverage initiative and Halloween.

"A focus for the holiday is on children and the joy that children have being able to go door-to-door,” she points out. “We want to make sure that they also have health care coverage this time of year. And, on the 31st, we'll only be two weeks away from the beginning of open enrollment."

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers and the Latino Health Insurance Program are among the organizations involved in Health-o-Ween.

They say with the Latinos in the state they will celebrate Sal-U-Ween, and Sa-U-Ween with Brazilians, Portuguese and Cape Verdeans.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - MA