Helping Newly-Enrolled Children and Parents Use Their Medicaid or CHIP Coverage

May 15, 2015

Millions more children and parents are enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) thanks to the outreach and enrollment efforts across the country. Helping families understand how their coverage works and how to use their benefits is the critical next step to ensuring they get the care they need.

Incorporate Education into Enrollment Services

Many newly-enrolled individuals may have health coverage for the first time. They are likely to need help understanding the benefits covered under Medicaid and CHIP and how to find a provider or a place where they can go for care. Organizations that provide enrollment assistance play an important role in helping families navigate the health system.

Follow up with families after they've enrolled to provide information on what benefits are covered through Medicaid and CHIP. For children under age 21, Medicaid covers Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT), which provides a comprehensive set of screenings (including health and developmental assessments, immunizations, lab tests, hearing, vision and dental) and the medically necessary services needed to treat any problems that may be identified. Learn more about EPSDT on Medicaid.gov.

Help Families Find Providers

Finding a health provider is an important first step in securing regular health care for children. It's also helpful to encourage families to find and establish a relationship with a primary care physician. But parents may not know how to find physicians, specialists, and dentists that accept Medicaid or CHIP.

Many state Medicaid and CHIP programs have online tools to find local provider listings; visit your state's program website to learn more. You can also find your state program through the Learn About Programs in Your State page on InsureKidsNow.gov. Don’t forget about oral health – InsureKidsNow.gov also features a dental provider tool that allows parents to search for a local dentist that accepts Medicaid and CHIP.

Learn More

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign recently held a webinar on "Helping Newly-Enrolled Families Understand and Use Their Medicaid and CHIP Coverage". The webinar began with a review of EPSDT benefits by Jane Perkins of the National Health Law Project. Jessica Burkard of the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association demonstrated how community health centers create customized resources for the newly-insured that detail where to seek medical and dental care and the importance of preventive care. Lisa Stein of Seedco expanded on successful strategies to help consumers use their coverage such as simplifying language, using analogies and visuals to explain complex terms, and using the 'Teach Back' method to ensure comprehension. Finally, Dr. Cara James of CMS showcased From Coverage to Care, an initiative to help people understand their benefits and access the care they need. It includes materials in multiple languages, videos, and technical assistance for enrollment assisters. These resources can be shared with consumers, and help the newly-enrolled grow comfortable using their insurance to lead healthier lives.

View the webinar or visit our archive to view other webinars in our series.

3 Ways to Stay Connected With the National Campaign

  • Share our materials widely. We have more than 50 National Campaign resources available, including translated print materials, to use in outreach and enrollment efforts.
  • Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Don't forget to re-tweet or share our messages with your network or use our #Enroll365 hashtag in your posts.
  • Contact us to get more involved with the National Campaign at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov or 1-855-313-KIDS (5437).

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