HEALTH BENEFITS: Better Ways to Enroll Children
In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, journalist Bob Rosenblatt examined the issue of uninsured children, and how to remedy the problem by using existing laws. He notes that more than one million of California's 1.85 million uninsured children could be receiving health care benefits through the Medi-Cal or Healthy Families programs, but fewer 30% than of eligible families know about these options. Other families are wary of becoming involved in a government program, Rosenblatt argues, either due to social stigma or mixed immigration status. He notes that welfare reform has further complicated enrollment, as families now must meet complex eligibility requirements. However, Rosenblatt writes, much of this could be alleviated if the state adopted an "express-lane" approach, using existing programs, such as food stamps or school lunches, to enroll children and verify eligibility. Furthermore, he notes that the free booklet, "Medicare Savings for Qualified Beneficiaries," lists the numbers of state social service programs that people can call to get information, apply, or determine their eligibility. Rosenblatt concludes that persuading more families to enroll in health benefits programs is a "tough selling job," but there is a way to encourage use of existing programs (1/11).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.