Improving Public Coverage for Children in New Jersey

Lessons from Covering Kids & Families in New Jersey

In order to increase health insurance coverage for children, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) initiated the Covering Kids Initiative (CKI) in 1999. CKI was renamed Covering Kids & Families (CKF) when its target population broadened in 2002.

This research brief reviewed the approach used by the CKF grantee in New Jersey, the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), to expand enrollment and maintain retention of children and families in Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It used data from sources such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and U.S. Census Bureau, along with reports, surveys and communication with officials and grantees.

Key Findings:

  • CKF grantees attempted to increase Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment and retention by conducting outreach to the public, health professionals and community agencies; simplifying the enrollment and retention process; and coordinating with state officials and agencies.
  • CKF grantees persisted with their goal of increasing health insurance coverage after their RWJF grant ended, although efforts were more limited in scope.
  • Efforts such as CKF remain relevant as evidenced in the rise in uninsured children in New Jersey from 7.5 percent in 1999 to 13.3 percent in 2006.

The advocacy of CKF grantees in New Jersey not only positively impacted enrollment and retention in Medicaid and SCHIP but also served to inform future endeavors such as the Consumer Voices for Coverage (CVC) grant.

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