May 2007 – Southern Institute Releases Report on CKF Promising Practices
The Covering Kids & Families (CKF) National Program Office at the Southern Institute on Children and Families is pleased to release a report, titled Covering Kids & Families: Promising practices from the nation’s single largest effort to insure eligible children and adults through public health coverage. CKF Promising Practices features CKF statewide and local coalition promising practices related to the CKF strategies of outreach, simplification and coordination, and includes process improvement examples from CKF project participation in the Southern Institute’s Eligibility Process Improvement Collaboratives.
The promising practices included in this report provide information on a variety of approaches to reduce the number of children and adults who are eligible for, but not enrolled in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and each write-up includes contact information for those seeking additional information. CKF Promising Practices is intended to assist Medicaid and SCHIP officials, federal, state and local policymakers, health care providers, schools, businesses, child advocates, Medicaid and SCHIP eligibility workers, legal service workers and others invested in ensuring health coverage for lower-income children and families.
Uninsured Americans are often forced to delay medical care, suffer from more illness and sometimes die as a result of not having health coverage. Yet millions of American children and adults who are eligible for health coverage through either Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) remain unenrolled.
From 2001-2007, the Southern Institute on Children and Families served as National Program Office for Covering Kids & Families, a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) focused on reducing the number of eligible but uninsured children and adults through enrollment in Medicaid or SCHIP. It was the nation’s single largest effort of its kind. RWJF invested nearly $150 million in two major initiatives directed by the Southern Institute between 1997 and 2007 to ensure that every child and adult eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP coverage receives it: Covering Kids and Covering Kids & Families.
The Covering Kids & Families initiative benefited from the work of coalitions in 50 states and the District of Columbia with more than 5,500 member organizations. Covering Kids & Families coalitions included public officials, health professionals, educators, businesses, social service agencies, faith-based organizations; and others all working to ensure that eligible children and adults are insured through Medicaid or SCHIP.
Covering Kids & Families statewide and local projects used three strategies demonstrated to reduce the number of uninsured children and adults who are eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP, but are not enrolled:
of burdensome eligibility policies and practices;
of eligibility policies and procedures among different coverage programs; and
eligible, uninsured children and adults.
As a part of the Covering Kids & Families outreach strategy, an annual Back-to-School campaign has been organized every August since 2000 to reach out to parents of eligible, uninsured children. Covering Kids & Families coalitions, corporations and national organizations staged media events, enrollment drives and other outreach activities to encourage parents of eligible, uninsured children to put enrolling them in Medicaid or SCHIP at the top of their back-to-school checklist.
At a time when the number of uninsured parents has increased, the number of uninsured children has decreased. Nearly 2 million more children have health care coverage now than in 1998, largely due to increased enrollment in Medicaid and SCHIP. Covering Kids & Families and its vast network of national, corporate and local partners significantly contributed to this increase.