Governor Markell Announces April is “Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow” Month Coalition details challenges facing the uninsured and highlights existing healthcare resources

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CLAYMONT, Del. (April 1, 2010) — Today, Governor Jack Markell kicked off Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow Month at Claymont Community Center. Members of the Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow (HDTT) coalition highlighted the results of their efforts and existing healthcare resources available to uninsured Delawareans.

A coalition convened by United Way of Delaware in collaboration with AstraZeneca, HDTT works to help uninsured Delawareans get access to free or low-cost healthcare, prescription medications and transportation to and from medical appointments. Since its inception three years ago, HDTT has linked nearly 26,000 Delawareans to available healthcare programs and services. HDTT is now working with the state Department of Labor to connect people to healthcare resources.

Among the local resources available to Delawareans is 2-1-1, a toll-free hotline for health and human service referrals. Representatives are available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and resources are also available online by visiting www.delaware211.org.

“Our health influences every aspect of our lives, including how much energy we can devote to our families, communities and workplaces,” says Gov. Markell. “By spreading the word about existing local healthcare resources, we ensure that Delawareans have a chance to improve their quality of life.”

Congressman Mike Castle was also in attendance and applauded HDTT’s efforts to help the uninsured. “I commend Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow for helping uninsured Delawareans find healthcare services,” he says. “This is a challenging time for Delaware families—by raising awareness of the many programs available in our community, we can better help Delawareans access the quality care they need.”

“When we work together with our health partners, real progress can be made,” says Rich Fante, President of AstraZeneca US. “Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow has helped connect thousands to the healthcare services they need, right here in our community.”

One in nine Delawareans goes without health insurance. Among the estimated 101,000 uninsured in the state are recently unemployed adults and an increasing number of working adults. In fact, 56 percent of Delaware’s uninsured are employed, according to a recent University of Delaware study.

Jim Thornton, Executive Director of Claymont Community Center, one of a network of agencies that offers healthcare services regardless of ability to pay, says new individuals and families are coming to his agency seeking medical help. “We are seeing a lot of new people – including working Delawareans who have never asked for help before. Evening and weekend hours are helping us better meet their needs.”

Michelle Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Delaware spoke about the benefits of community-based programs. “By connecting people to the healthcare that they need, we are helping them live better, fuller, more independent lives,” she says.