By Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
Rhode Island was proud to be one of three states
highlighted in a video at Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ Connecting Kids to
Coverage Challenge event on September 3, 2010. Rhode Island’s successful RIte Care health insurance program
and our Family Resource Counselor program were both featured as models of
community-based outreach and enrollment.
RIte Care, Rhode Island’s combination Medicaid
and CHIP program that provides health insurance coverage to low- and
moderate-income children, their parents and pregnant women, is a national model of high-quality,
cost-effective, and affordable coverage. RIte Care’s two managed care health
plans (Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and United Healthcare of New
England) were ranked in the top 11 Medicaid health plans in the U.S. last year.
RIte Care has earned broad support among policymakers and Rhode Islanders in
Family Resource Counselors (FRCs) are specially
trained staff members of community health centers, hospitals, and community
organizations who assist families with applying for health coverage through
RIte Care. FRCs assist Rhode Island families in completing the application,
assembling all of the supporting documentation that is required for
applications and help families resolve any problems that may occur during the
application process. Many of them are bilingual and are known as trusted
helpers for Rhode Island families. In place since 1998, the FRC program has
been a long-term public-private partnership that serves as an important
outreach mechanism for Rhode Island children and families.
New data released at the
event show that 83.5% of children who are eligible for RIte Care are actually
enrolled. We want to turn what is
essentially a “B” grade into an A+ by ramping up our collective outreach
efforts to enroll eligible children and families in RIte Care coverage.
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is proud of what Rhode Island has
achieved for children. RIte Care has a long history of documented positive
health outcomes for children and families enrolled in the program – that means
healthier families and lower costs to the state. Using the federal
opportunities that are available through CHIP and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Rhode Island can once
again lead the nation in making sure that all of our children have health
We’re almost there – 93% of children in Rhode Island have
health insurance coverage. We are
determined to step up to the Secretary’s Challenge to finish the job and cover
all eligible children. It can be
Editor’s Note: The views expressed by Guest Bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Children and Families.