Children’s Health is a National Priority – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

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By Patrick McIntyre, United Way

When it comes to the health of our nation, United Way cares
about ensuring that everyone has health insurance, that folks eat well, and
that Americans remain active and energized.

Specifically for children, Medicaid and the Children’s
Health Insurance Program provide vital health care to children whose families
don’t receive coverage from their employer, or who don’t earn enough money to
afford coverage on their own.


Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) commissioned a survey by Lake Research Partners interviewing over 1,900
families at 250% of the federal poverty level or less. One-third of the
families had children covered by Medicaid; a third were covered by CHIP; and a
third received coverage through their employers.  The intent was to measure perceptions of these programs from
families who are eligible for it; find what works and what doesn’t work about
the program; and learn what strategies work best in terms of connecting kids to

Some of the key findings were as follows:

  • Families whose children were covered by Medicaid or CHIP were more
    satisfied with their care than those receiving employer-sponsored care
  • The top reason why families enroll their children in Medicaid or CHIP is
    for “peace of mind.”  Families also
    like the programs because they are affordable and due to the menu of services
    provided to their children
  • The top barriers to enrollment were the perceptions that enrollment is
    hard, and that families think they earn too much to qualify.  Families didn’t know whom to call or
    where to turn to learn information about the programs
  • English speakers tend to prefer to enroll online or via post, whereas
    Spanish speakers tend to prefer enrolling at government agencies
  • The most trusted messengers about Medicaid and CHIP are doctors and
  • A
    great majority are satisfied with the enrollment process
  • For English speakers, it’s important to emphasize the eligible income
    range; that enrollment is available online; and to arm doctors and nurses with
    outreach and enrollment information
  • For Spanish speakers, it’s important to provide information in Spanish,
    emphasize affordability, and inform them that in-person assistance is available

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