Five million children who are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have not been enrolled, noted HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Chicago on November 6 at the National Children’s Health Insurance Summit, and she is asking states and communities to help change that.
When the Children’s Health Insurance program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) was signed into law in February 2009, it extended and expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIPRA added $33 billion in federal funds for children’s coverage over the next four and one-half years, and expects to provide health coverage to 4.1 million children in Medicaid and CHIP who otherwise would not have had insurance by 2013.
Because of the worsening economy and the number of families that have lost their health insurance coverage, especially for their children, it is important that every child who is entitled to receive Medicaid or CHIP be enrolled in the appropriate program. Secretary Sebelius said during the Summit that “Our charge here today is to get all eligible children covered to ensure they are healthy throughout their childhood.” To help achieve that goal, she called upon the attendees, which included state Medicaid and CHIP officials, local government, community-based organizations, safety net providers, and others who are trying to enroll children in these programs to redouble their efforts.
During the Summit, participants will work together to share their strategies for locating and enrolling children in health insurance programs as well as discuss how to remove barriers that can prevent children from staying in these programs even though they are eligible. Attendees will also learn about how to reach diverse or isolated populations, the utility of online applications for insurance, and how to work efficiently with managed care plans and health care providers.
The government has updated its Website (www.insurekidsnow.gov) that provides information about free or low-cost children’s health insurance. Parents and caregivers can also call 1-877-543-7669 for information. Public access to the presentations and conference materials from the National Children’s Health Insurance Summit is available by visiting www.childrenshealthinsurancesummit.com.