By Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
When it comes to getting children the health coverage they need, our nation is moving in the right direction. According to a new analysis by the Urban Institute, the participation rate in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has increased to 87.2 percent in 2011, up 5.5 percentage points from 81.7 percent in 2008. Over that same time period, the number of eligible uninsured children has declined from 4.9 million to 4.0 million. At CMS, we are greatly encouraged by this progress, because we know a bump in participation means that more children are getting access to the comprehensive health benefits – including preventive services – that all children need.
In addition to the work states have done over the past decade or more to simplify and streamline enrollment procedures, outreach efforts that include providing application assistance directly to families have played a key role in improving enrollment. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius helped galvanize these efforts in 2010, when she launched the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge, calling upon leaders at all levels of government, community-based organizations, health centers, school districts, faith-based groups, Indian tribes and others to find and enroll all uninsured children eligible for Medicaid and CHIP eligible children. We are proud that, working together, our national Connecting Kids to Coverage Campaign, our outreach and enrollment grantees and many other partners have helped to achieve the progress described in the Urban Institute report.
But, there is still more to be done. Too many uninsured children who could be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP today remain uninsured. As the Connecting Kids to Coverage Campaign continues to reach out to families across the country, we know that new opportunities to boost enrollment are just around the corner. Beginning October 1, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, many more parents will be eligible for Medicaid or other coverage available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. And we know that when eligible parents enroll, they are also likely to enroll their children and take advantage of the preventive services that help them stay healthy.
To find the children’s Medicaid/CHIP participation rate in your state check out this map: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/reports/index.html
To find out about health insurance opportunities for the whole family:
For recent children’s health coverage outreach materials and ideas for how best to use them:
Watch the Insure Kids Now television public service announcement here: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/outreach/strategies/tv_and_radio_psas.html
Find out more about the grants we’ve awarded to groups across the country: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/professionals/index.html