CHIP: Most Parents Unaware of Children’s Eligibility
Three out of five parents whose children may qualify for state Children's Health Insurance Programs or Medicaid do not know they are eligible, leaving about seven million children needlessly uninsured, according to a new study released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Wall Street Journal reports. The study, part of a campaign to encourage parents to sign children up for government health insurance plans, also found that four out of five parents would enroll their children if they knew they were eligible for coverage. "You can establish programs and policies, but they do little good unless people know about it," according to Sarah Shuptrine, director of Covering Kids, a RWJF-sponsored program designed to bolster outreach and enrollment efforts (Bowean, 8/10). "We must let ... parents know that their children are eligible and we must continue to make it easier for these parents to apply," RWJF President and CEO Dr. Steven Schroeder said. While states have used CHIP funding to expand coverage to families with moderate incomes, 71% of parents in two-income households and 69% of parents with an annual household income of more than $25,000 believe their children are ineligible for the program, the survey showed. (RWJF release, 8/9). "The introduction of health care for working families is a relatively new concept," HHS Secretary Donna Shalala explained, adding, "States have been working hard to streamline application and reenrollment processes to make them more family friendly." Although experts often cite social stigma as a deterrent to CHIP and Medicaid enrollment, the study found that three out of four parents considered government health programs "a good thing to help people take care of families" (AP/Washington Times, 8/10).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.