Enrolling Kids in Medicaid and CHIP - What Works

person directing someone using a pencilThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) has just funded a 4-year, $15 million initiative to help eight states increase kids' enrollment in Medicaid and  the states' Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Grantees include three states in which Reclaiming Futures is operating -- Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York -- as well as Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. An estimated 7 million children in the United States are eligible for -- but not enrolled in -- Medicaid and CHIP. Along with other needed health care, these programs can pay for alcohol and drug treatment for teens.

If you're not in one of those lucky states and you're wondering "what works" to maximize enrollment of kids in public health insurance programs, there's already a roadmap.  The Foundation also issued a 2006 report on how to do it for interested states, with seven recommendations. Two of these jumped out as relevant for Reclaiming Futures sites:

  • Engage leaders who champion the goal of covering children
  • Engage partners to help achieve coverage goals

In other words, state leaders interested in maximizing the number of teens and children covered by these programs will want to work with Reclaiming Futures Fellows and other local change leaders, and vice versa.

Updated: February 25 2009