States Selected to Participate in $15 Million Initiative to Increase Coverage for Uninsured Children

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides funding and support to maximize enrollment in CHIP and Medicaid in eight states.

    • February 16, 2009

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced a $15 million, four-year initiative to increase enrollment and retention of eligible children in public health insurance programs like Medicaid and the states’ Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

According to the most recent government data, more than 9 million of the nation’s children are uninsured, and more than 7 million are eligible for either Medicaid or CHIP, but not enrolled. In an effort to significantly increase the number of children with health coverage, Maximizing Enrollment for Kids will provide funding and technical support to eight states. The eight states selected have shown a strong commitment to increasing children’s enrollment in public coverage programs even in the face of difficult economic times. The program is being launched as states are preparing to receive stronger federal support of their efforts in this area from the recent extension of the CHIP program.

Under the direction of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), which serves as the national program office for Maximizing Enrollment for Kids, the program will help states strengthen their systems, policies, and procedures and develop new strategies and approaches to ‘maximize enrollment’ for eligible children. The program will also measure the impact of these changes, and will share findings nationwide throughout the four-year initiative.

“All Americans need health coverage, but for children it is even more important. Getting kids the care they need is vital to the overall health and future of our country,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Congress and the administration have taken action to reauthorize CHIP, but we all need to do our part to make sure eligible kids are enrolled. We can significantly increase enrollment of eligible children in these states, and use their experiences to assist others.”

Grantees will receive:

  • An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the states’ enrollment and retention systems, policies, and procedures;
  • Tailored technical assistance to help states develop and implement plans to increase enrollment and retention of eligible children;
  • Participation in peer-to-peer learning to share information with other states about challenges and effective strategies; and
  • Assistance with data collection and analysis to help states measure their progress.

“In order to make major inroads in reducing the ranks of uninsured children, we need to help states apply what we know about what works to enroll eligible children and keep them enrolled for as long as they qualify,” said Alan Weil, J.D., M.P.P., executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. “This initiative will help a  cross-section of states apply what we know and help us learn more from them about what works to streamline enrollment and retention and cover more eligible kids.”

The eight state agencies designated by their respective governors have been awarded up to $1 million, plus significant technical assistance, as part of this four-year initiative. The state organizations chosen as Maximizing Enrollment grantees include:

  • Alabama – Department of Public Health
  • Illinois – Department of Healthcare and Family Services
  • Louisiana – Department of Health and Hospitals
  • Massachusetts – Executive Office of Health and Human Services Office of Medicaid
  • New York – Department of Health
  • Utah – Department of Health
  • Virginia – Department of Medical Assistance Services
  • Wisconsin – Department of Health and Family Services

For more information about Maximizing Enrollment for Kids or its grantees, visit www.maxenroll.org.


About the National Academy for State Health Policy

The National Academy for State Health Policy is an independent academy of state health policymakers working together to identify emerging issues, develop policy solutions, and improve state health policy and practice. NASHP provides a forum for constructive, nonpartisan work across branches and agencies of state government on critical health issues facing states.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. By helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

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