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Coming March 31 – Online Resource Center to Help Insure Kids

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Watch for an exciting new resource to help local officials connect families with affordable health insurance for their children.

With funding from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the Institute for Local Government is launching a new website to provide easy, “how-to” information on reaching out to families whose children may be eligible for no- and low-cost health insurance.

The Insure Kids Online Resource Center is based upon best practices and lessons learned by California cities and counties that participated in a three-year program called “Communities for Healthy Kids.” These participants helped identify the best ways for local officials to connect with parents whose children are eligible for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families or Healthy Kids in counties with Children’s Health Initiative, so their children can be enrolled in health insurance.

Key elements of the Online Resource Center will include:

  • Step-by-step “how-to” guidance for nine different types of outreach and enrollment activities;
  • Templates, such as information flyers and brochures explaining health coverage options for children;
  • Sample letters to employees who do not receive dependent coverage as an employee benefit;
  • Guidance on how to identify which health plans offer children’s coverage in the community’s area, as well as county resources and non-profit groups targeting potentially eligible families and children;
  • Guidance on how to work with the managed care community, schools, teachers and others involved in promoting affordable children’s health coverage; and
  • Resources to learn about the status of Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and whether a Children’s Health Initiative is available in a community.

Effective outreach and enrollment activities identified during Communities for Healthy Kid’s three-year research program include:

  1. Placing information brochures at agency buildings;
  2. Inviting health insurance providers to community events;
  3. Working with local non-profit organizations and agencies;
  4. Working with outside Certified Application Assistants to help families;
  5. Informing agency employees about potential health coverage for their children;
  6. Assigning an agency staff member to become a Certified Application Assistant;
  7. Using agency staff as roving ambassadors at agency events;
  8. Holding an enrollment event; and
  9. Collaborating with schools.

Success in the face of uncertainty

Local agencies in California succeed in connecting families with affordable health insurance for their children despite challenges and uncertainty over the past few years due to the on-again and off-again nature of the federally funded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) as well as the State of California’s budget problems.

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