Reaching Out: Enrolling and Keeping Kids in the SCHIP Program

February 26, 2007

By some estimates, almost three-fourths of America’s nine million uninsured children are eligible for either State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or Medicaid. As Congress begins debating the reauthorization of the program in earnest, policymakers are examining what is keeping these children from enrolling.

Specifically, how successful have state outreach, enrollment and retention efforts proved to be? What roles have community organizations and the private sector played in SCHIP outreach activities, and how important are these programs likely to be during the next decade in reaching eligible but uninsured children? Is there evidence that SCHIP outreach, enrollment and retention initiatives have affected Medicaid?

To analyze and answer these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a February 26th luncheon briefing at the Columbus Club, Union Station. Keynote speakers Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. Orrin Hatch, two of the “fathers” of the SCHIP program provided opening remarks. Other panelists included: Cindy Mann, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University; Linda Nablo, SCHIP director in Virginia; Judith Cash, deputy director of the Virginia Health Care Foundation, an RWJF “Covering Kids and Families” grantee; and Judith Wooldridge, senior vice president, Mathematica Policy Research. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated the session, and a representative of the Foundation offered introductory remarks.


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