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Working with Health Insurance Providers


Partnering with the City of Santa Barbara and its Parks and Recreation Department gave us the unique opportunity to reach families in every way possible to let them know about affordable health insurance for their children.”
—Tara Dooley, Children’s Health Initiative Program Manager, Santa Barbara County

The success of individual projects depends in part on the active involvement of the health plans offering Medi-Cal and/or Healthy Families in a community and the involvement of the Children’s Health Initiatives that operate in 29 counties.

Key Tips for Working With Health Plans and Children’s Health Initiatives

Make connections early. If you’re considering a project or event, be sure to reach out early in the planning process to the health plans and/or Children’s Health Initiative that offer affordable health insurance for children in your area.

Is there a Children’s Health Initiative in your area? In California, 29 counties have Children’s Health Initiative actively engaged in outreach to families and enrollment of eligible children. Click here to see if a Children’s Health Initiative is operating your county. If so, be sure to contact the Children’s Health Initiative early in the process to involve them in your planning. It may be that your community has already been contacted by the Children’s Health Initiative to explore ways to collaborate.

Learn from past experiences. Health plans and Children’s Health Initiatives have valuable experience and suggestions to offer as you begin planning your projects or events. Because they have been active in previous outreach and enrollment events, they can share lessons learned and new approaches so that you can avoid duplication of efforts and learn from past experience.

Invite ALL health plans and the Children’s Health Initiative to any outreach or enrollment event. It’s important to remember that California state regulations covering Medi-Cal and the Healthy Families Program require that all health plans serving an area be invited to any event, although not all may choose to participate. Some counties have Children’s Health Initiatives; be sure to include them when extending invitations to participate.

Consult early to avoid conflicting event dates. Some health plans or Children’s Health Initiatives may not be able to participate if there is a scheduling conflict. To avoid potential conflicts, consult with the health plans early in the process when selecting a date for an event or outreach meeting. Be respectful of the health plans’ resource capabilities.

Be clear on the purpose of the event or activity. To facilitate participation of the health plans and Children’s Health Initiative, be sure to give clear information about the event’s purpose. It’s helpful to provide information about the number of people you are expecting, the participants’ language(s) , the event location and hours, whether there will be entertainment, and whether the activity is part of a larger event (such as a stand-alone enrollment event only about affordable health insurance for children or part of a community health fair or holiday celebration). Provide information about who else might participate in the event as well.

The health plan and Children’s Health Initiative representatives are there to explain health plan options. If this is an enrollment event, the health plan and Children’s Health Initiative representatives are there to explain the options to the participants and assist with the enrollment applications. To make their work easier, try to provide a location with wireless Internet access for those who will be assisting with enrollments. Because enrollments can now be done electronically, this will facilitate submitting applications online. Applicants generally must bring the following information with them to complete the application process:

  • Birth certificate(s);
  • Social security card(s);
  • Proof of address;
  • Proof of income—most recent pay stub or last year’s income tax return; and
  • Proof of pregnancy.


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