Many Uninsured Qualify for Assistance, Do Not Enroll
About one-quarter of the approximately 46 million uninsured U.S. residents qualify for government-funded health care programs but are not enrolled, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Some people are unaware that they qualify for public programs, while others might have difficulty with long, complex enrollment forms or face delays in participation approval.
About a decade ago, some states including Vermont and Wisconsin tried to encourage enrollment by advertising health care programs, simplifying the application forms and relaxing renewal requirements, according to the AP/Post-Intelligencer. Wisconsin was able to enroll four-fifths of the state's uninsured children and more than half of uninsured adults in BadgerCare as a result of these efforts, one study found.
However, when states later began to experience budget crunches, many dropped their outreach programs, according to Rachel Klein, deputy director of health policy at Families USA. "You have to constantly do outreach to the public because they may not know what's there," Klein said (Lohn, AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/29).