AUSTIN — UCare members in Mower County who are looking to finish their General Education Development degree might be eligible for a pilot program that will help them reach that goal.
UCARE, an independent, nonprofit health plan — has partnered with GEDWorks to provide people with MinnesotaCare of Families and Children (Medical Assistance) programs the materials they need to earn their GED for free. This includes personal coaching, practice tests, official tests and bilingual study resources.
The pilot program is part of UCare's initiative to provide health and wellness resources to its members as part of a holistic health approach. While 82 percent of Minnesota students earn a high school diploma within four years, this number is lower for low-income students in some rural counties.
Wendy Wicks, a spokeswoman for UCare, said Mower County was one of four Minnesota counties — along with Freeborn, Blue Earth and St. Louis — selected for the program because of need.
"We looked around the state and we tried to connect with rural communities where we had underserved members," Wicks said.
According to the American Public Health Association, adults who do not complete high school have poorer health and are more likely to die prematurely from preventable conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lung disease.
"We are piloting the approach in Mower County during a limited first phase of the program and hope to expand to other counties in the near future," Wicks said.
For more information, UCare members can email GEDWorks@ged.com.