U.S. colleges urge help for uninsured

College students, faculty and administrators are working to increase the number adults covered by health insurance for Cover the Uninsured Week.

The week spans May 1 through May 7 as a part of “the largest nonpartisan effort in history” to raise awareness about the nation’s uninsured, according to the Cover the Uninsured Week press release.

Organizers say that nearly one in three young adults currently live without health coverage in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau reports nearly 46 million Americans are living without health insurance.

Among the uninsured, adults aged 21-24 made up the largest percentage of the uninsured (35.6 percent) in 1994.

“Many of our peers are living without health insurance, risking their health and personal finances,” Alik Widge, chair of the American Medical Association Medical Student Section, said in a press release.

Cover the Uninsured Week is co-chaired by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, endorsed by 10 former U.S. Surgeons General and U.D. Secretaries of Health and Human Services.

Sponsoring organizations include Blues Cross and Blue Shield Association, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Activities and events are planned nationally in all 50 states and include plans to enroll eligible people in low-cost or free coverage programs, volunteerism and panel discussions.

On the Web site, CoverTheUninsured.org, students are urged to tell Congress that heath care coverage must be a priority, and may do so directly via e-mail through the site. Participants are also encouraged to send a Cover the Uninsured Week e-mail to others asking for help and get involved in the week’s activities.

“Cover the Uninsured Week provides students with unique opportunities to tell our leaders that health care coverage must be a top priority. As future leaders of this country, today’s students will be direct affected by this problem when their own friends, families, and business cannot afford the rising cost of health coverage-and join the ranks of the uninsured as a result,” said senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson foundation John Lumpkin on the site.

Complete listings of events scheduled by state and by campus and health insurance information are available at www.CoverTheUninsured.org.

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