As gains have been made in coverage, it has become increasingly apparent that having health insurance does not in itself assure access to needed health care.
Covering Kids & Families Access Initiative (CKF-AI) was developed in 2003 to learn more about the variety of access barriers that can prevent meaningful use of insurance coverage even after children and families are formally enrolled. In the initiative's first year (Phase I) each grantee was to investigate access barriers by collecting data directly from affected families and health care providers in the local area. The grantees were then to move into a second phase in which each of them would select one or two barriers based on their Phase I findings; develop site-specific intervention strategies for addressing these barriers; and attempt to field the interventions as pilot programs.
This first phase follow-up evaluation, led by Carolyn Needleman, Ph.D., of Social Research Associates, finds that CKF-AI has succeeded in:
- Producing new information about the nature of access barriers, bringing to light many aspects of the problem that had not previously been well understood.
- Stimulating a variety of innovative intervention projects, providing models for other advocates seeking to reduce access barriers.
- Laying a foundation firm enough for most grantees to succeed in finding alternative funding sources to sustain their access projects in some form after the initial grant expired.
- Building capacity in the grantee teams, better equipping them and their organizations to address access barriers over the long term.
- Refining strategies for communicating with decision-makers to correct information gaps and misconceptions about health care access.