Chula Vista Works to Promote Enrollment in Affordable Health Insurance for Children
Community: Chula Vista (San Diego County)
The City of Chula Vista established a task force that included a number of public, private and non-profit community organizations to explore the types of activities the city could undertake to promote enrollment in no- or low-cost health insurance options for eligible children. The groups worked with the city to identify communities to target so outreach activities were not duplicated. In addition, the city’s recreation department’s Fun to Be Fit program was used as a pilot project to identify families with uninsured children and connect them with local agencies that could help enroll them no- or low-cost health insurance program.
- Chula Vista continues city sponsorship of conversations with several non-profit organizations involved in children’s health, both to facilitate continued collaboration and to identity areas where the city might be involved.
- Chula Vista has collaborated with a community group for enrollment assistance to handle the follow-up screening process of potential eligible children for no or low cost health insurance.
- Public agencies can facilitate non-profit partnerships by taking an active role in introducing community groups to one another, whether it’s a community service agency, local health clinic, or a traditional hospital. This ensures that the agencies know the types of services each is providing to the community and helps avoid duplication of services.
- Elected officials can also take an active role by setting up a coffee, breakfast, or lunch event and inviting the various community groups so everyone can get to know one another.
- By using an existing service, such as swim lessons for children, public agencies can use that venue to conduct outreach for other services, such as information on no or low cost health insurance options for children. Public agencies have services to offer to residents, but because of time constraints and other issues it can be challenging for residents to seek these services.
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The Rest of the Story…
Recognizing that cities can play a role in enhancing parent and family awareness about no- and low-cost health insurance for children, the mayor convened a task force, which included local non-profits, hospitals, and the university, to explore a role for the city in helping to indentify eligible children for no-or low-cost health insurance.
Participants of the task force wanted to use their collective resources without creating expensive new programs or duplicate existing efforts. After much discussion, the group recommended using the city’s Recreation Departments Fun to Be Fit program as a pilot project to identify uninsured children and connect them with local agencies that could help enroll them in a no- or low- cost health insurance program. The pilot project added a simple additional form to the on-site Fun to Be Fit registration packet. The form, printed in both English and Spanish, asks “Do you have health insurance for your child?”
The Chula Vista Collaborative offers an assessment and initial screening to ensure families are prepared for the Certified Application Assistant (the individual who helps the family prepare and submit an application for health insurance.)
The major obstacle facing the Task Force has been the economic recession. Before the pilot project was to begin, the City determined that they would be unable to fund the Fun to Be Fit program. Because of the collaborative nature of the pilot project between the City and local non-profits, the City applied for and received a grant from the Alliance Healthcare Foundation. The grant allowed the City to continue to operate the Fun to Be Fit program. Modest funding to three local non-profits was also provided to assist them with costs incurred in responding to health insurance related questions from parents that wanted more information.
Outreach to Multicultural Communities
The City of Chula Vista is a diverse community, with 50 percent of the population being Hispanic. The task force determined that flyers would need to be translated into English and Spanish. To target the non-English speaking population, outreach is conducted by trusted networks and individuals in the community established by local non-profits and staff from the Park and Recreation Department. The non-profits also have Spanish speaking staff available to answer questions.