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Communities Play Key Role in Extending Public Health Insurance to Children

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Publication Date: October 2001

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Laurie E. Felland; Andrea Staiti

Series: Issue Brief No. 44

Topic: Health (Health services for children)

Type: Brief


Nearly all low-income children are now eligible for public health insurance coverage through Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but millions of eligible children still lack coverage. Increasingly, states have turned to local communities to assist with SCHIP outreach. The Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) recent site visits to 12 nationally representative communities found many organizations not traditionally involved in public health insurance activities—such as schools, employers and religious and community groups— playing important outreach roles. Local social service agencies, health departments and providers also are helping children gain coverage. For policy makers seeking to increase enrollment, these community efforts offer a valuable road map. Local SCHIP outreach generally is considered successful but is costly. And, state budget shortfalls and reduced federal SCHIP funding could threaten outreach efforts.