From 1999 to 2001, staff at the Chicago-based Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, a nonprofit statewide organization dedicated to maternal and child health issues, led a broader statewide coalition in an effort to increase the number of eligible children in the state enrolled in government-funded health insurance programs.
Efforts focused chiefly on outreach, simplification of enrollment procedures and forms, and coordination among agencies.
The effort, called Covering Kids Illinois, was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Covering Kids®: A National Health Initiative for Low-Income Uninsured Children national program.
The Covering Kids Illinois project (statewide and local) accomplished the following:
- During the project's life, 163,852 children enrolled in KidCare—86.4 percent of the estimated 189,617 children who were eligible but not enrolled.
- The Illinois Department of Public Aid simplified its health insurance application form, based on the work of project staff.
- The Department of Public Aid changed its process for coverage application, based on the work of project staff.
- By February 2000, the Illinois Department of Public Aid stopped removing children from KidCare whose parents were removed from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but allowed them to continue their coverage for 12 months.
- Through efforts of project staff, the Department of Public Aid upgraded its KidCare hotline.
- In 2000, the Illinois Department of Human Services—responding to project staff—began sending a list of KidCare-eligible families to their WIC offices (the federal special supplemental nutritional program for women, infants and children) and Family Case Management subcontractors.