Covering Kids Starts CHIP Enrollment Effort
Officials and partners of Covering Kids, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, yesterday launched the Back-to-School 2001 campaign, touted as the largest nationwide effort to enroll children in Medicaid or CHIP. As children head back to school in a couple weeks they should not have to worry about returning "without the security" of health coverage, Covering Kids Director Sarah Shuptrine said during the kick-off event held at Washington, D.C.'s Garrison Elementary School. Over the next 10 days, more than 1,000 events and activities will take place around the country to enroll children in either Medicaid or CHIP, Shuptrine said. The cities of Tuscon, Ariz., Hartford, Conn., Miami and Brownsville, Texas, will also host regionalized Back-to-School launches. As part of the effort, ABC Radio Networks and local media outlets will air advertisements to promote the campaign. Parents also will be able to get information about their states' Medicaid and CHIP programs through a hotline (1-887-KIDS-NOW). Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said that several of the association's members plan to publicize the enrollment effort through advertisement circulars and some stores will host enrollment drives. One chain, Albertson's, has put the hotline number on its grocery bags.
During yesterday's conference, RWJF Senior Vice President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, announced that a $55 million program, Covering Kids & Families, will be launched next January. That program will build on Covering Kids by helping to enroll potentially eligible parents in Medicaid and CHIP programs. Dr. Antonia Novello, commissioner of New York's Health Department; Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams; Bobby Dodd, president and executive director of the Amateur Athletic Union; Nora Watters, whose sons are enrolled in Illinois KidCare; and Kim Bell, project director of DC Action for Children also participated in the news conference. An enrollment fair on the school's grounds followed the press conference (Amanda Wolfe, California Healthline, 8/9).
To illustrate the effect of uninsurance on both parents and children, RWJF unveiled a survey of 1,662 parents yesterday, showing that in the last year 21% of parents of eligible but uninsured children delayed or skipped medical care for their children because they believed they could not pay for it. The survey also found the following:
- 27% of parents of eligible but uninsured children delayed or skipped dental care for their children in the last year;
- 20% of parents of the eligible but uninsured children prevented their children from participating in a sporting or athletic event out of fear that the child could be injured and they would not be able to pay for treatment;
- 69% of parents of eligible but uninsured children are "worried" frequently or almost all the time about paying for medical bills, compared with 17% of parents of insured children
("Survey of American Families: Comparison of Households with Insured Children vs. Uninsured Children Eligible for SCHIP/Medicaid Coverage," 8/8). An executive summary of the survey is available at http://www.rwjf.org/app/rw_news_and_events/rw_new_event_executive_summary.html.
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