Under "Covering Kids" Pennsylvania Increases Health Care Coverage of Uninsured Children

Covering Kids: A National Health Access Initiative for Low-Income, Uninsured Children

From 1999 through 2001, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a nonprofit child advocacy organization located in Harrisburg, led the Statewide Covering Kids and Families® Coalition in an effort to increase the number of eligible children in the state enrolled in government-funded health insurance coverage programs.

Efforts focused chiefly on outreach, simplification of enrollment procedures and forms, and coordination among agencies.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Covering Kids®: A National Health Initiative for Low-Income Uninsured Children national program.

Key Results

  • The Covering Kids project in Pennsylvania accomplished the following:

    • Enrollment of Pennsylvania children in Medicaid and CHIP rose substantially:
      • Enrollment in Medicaid rose 49,213—from 692,534 in 1999 to 741,747 in 2001.
      • Enrollment in CHIP rose 47,770—from 70,277 in 1999 to 118,047 in 2001.
    • The state's Department of Health awarded $800,000 in "mini-grants" to 20 agencies and organizations to conduct outreach work similar to that done by pilots.
    • A state committee and work groups simplified application procedures by, for example:
      • Creating a modified application process in which the state Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance (CHIP) agencies accept client applications through either program (Medicaid or CHIP) and direct it to the program for which the client is best suited or eligible.
      • Reducing the verification requirements to proof of family income in the last 30 days and, if applicable, proof of legal alien status (families are allowed to self-declare their citizenship).
    • Project staff set in place measures to ensure that as families were moved off of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families due to federal welfare reform in 1996, Medicaid coverage (which had been linked to welfare) would continue for the children.
    • Medicaid and CHIP agency staffs institutionalized the assignment of children to the coverage for which they are best suited and eligible.

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