Advocates Call for More Efforts To Enroll Kids in Public Health Coverage
Advocates are pushing for increased efforts to enroll California's uninsured children in government health insurance programs such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families, the Sacramento Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program and Healthy Families is the state's Children's Health Insurance Program.
Last week, the Urban Institute Health Policy Center released a study in the journal Health Affairs estimating that about 700,000 California children are uninsured and eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families. The figure represents nearly half of the 1.5 million California children who lack health coverage, according to UCLA health policy researchers.
Last week, HHS and the Department of Education challenged health care providers to enrollÂ five million children nationwide in Medicaid and CHIP.
Of the 7.3 million U.S. children who lacked health coverage in 2008, about 4.7 million were eligible for such programs, according to HHS.
Advocates Call for Restoring Enrollment Assistance
Suzie Shupe, executive director of the California Children's Health Initiatives, said the challenge lies in identifying and educating families who might not realize their children are eligible for coverage.
Advocates say many California families have experienced confusion about their coverage options because several programs have scaled back enrollment-assistance services. Over the past few years, the state has cut more than $34 million in spending on outreach and education for health services.
In addition, last year's budgetary strain led the state to eliminate positions for certified application aides to help families enroll in public health insurance programs.
Advocates say the state should scale up its outreach efforts by restoring funding to county-based services that help enroll children in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 9/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.