Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are the two largest public health insurance programs for working and low-income children families in the United States. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), both of these programs have seen an increase in enrollment across the country during the past year even in states, such as Texas, that have decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility to poor adults. As of May 2014, Texas had 80,435 new enrollees in Medicaid– a 1.8% increase over pre-ACA figures. However, roughly 874,000 Texans eligible for Medicaid and CHIP have still not enrolled, including over 700,000 children.
Multiple studies have shown that access to health insurance leads to better health and educational outcomes for children. Cities and society have a vested interest in connecting children with health insurance and helping families avoid the financial crises that can result from unaffordable medical bills. Children with insurance are more likely to be vaccinated and to receive care for common childhood conditions. Children with health insurance also miss fewer days of school and experience greater academic success than those without insurance. Having insurance keeps children healthier and relieves the need for parents to take time off work to be with their sick children. This fosters a strong workforce and healthy community.
Earlier this month, the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute) selected eight cities, including Dallas, to receive grants of up to $260,000 and technical assistance for outreach campaigns to increase enrollment of eligible children and families in Medicaid and CHIP. This is part of the Cities Expanding Health Access for Children and Families (CEHACF) initiative, funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies. The other cities include Jacksonville, FL; Garden City, MI; Hattiesburg, MS; New Bedford, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Providence, RI; and Savannah, GA.
Details around the outreach campaigns will be highlighted during a joint webinar with NLC and CMS on July 29, 2014 at 2:00pm Eastern Daylight time. Watch for detailed outreach campaign profiles for each city to be posted on the NLC website in the fall of 2014.
For more information on the awards and contact information regarding the CEHACF initiative please see: http://www.nlc.org/media-center/news-search/nlc-awards-eight-grants-of-up-to-260000-for-implementing-health-benefit-outreach-campaigns
News article on Texas Medicaid enrollment: http://www.texastribune.org/2014/07/15/texas-sees-18-percent-rise-medicaid-signups/
Rachael Johnston, MD