Establishing School-Based Partnerships to Help Enroll Students in Medicaid and CHIP

July 23, 2015

Schools and organizations with good connections to school systems are natural partners to help you reach and enroll eligible students in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Cultivating these relationships takes time and follow-through so it's always a good time to reach out to the school community and prepare for the upcoming school year.

Spotlight on School-Based Enrollment

Connecting Kids to Coverage grantee Covering Kids and Families of Indiana (CKF Indiana) has developed a successful school-based enrollment program to enroll children in health coverage and connect them to health care services. Through its "100% Campaign" CKF Indiana recruits 100% Campaign in-school representatives, such as school counselors and administrators, who can educate families about Medicaid and CHIP and provide information about signing up for coverage. CKF Indiana's work has led to more than 1,000 child enrollments since July 2013.

School superintendents can play an important leadership role in prioritizing health coverage for students. In California, the Mountain View School District – as part of a Connecting Kids to Coverage grant with the American Association of School Administrators and the Children's Defense Fund – has made health insurance a part of its vision for healthy students; the goal to increase the number of insured children. A question about whether a child has health insurance is included on all school registration forms, and schools follow up with an offer for enrollment assistance to families with uninsured children. Schools also look for opportunities to talk one-on-one with parents. They deploy a cadre of parents who are trained on the basics of Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and can help explain the importance of health insurance during parent conferences. And the school district is seeing results – a 10 percent increase in the number of kids with health insurance and a 4 percent increase in attendance in two years.

Working with School Nurses

School nurses are invaluable health liaisons between schools and parents. As they care for children on a daily basis, they also see the need for children to have access to the medical, dental, and vision care offered through Medicaid and CHIP. School nurses can help integrate questions about coverage status into annual health and emergency contact forms distributed to parents and direct those without insurance to local enrollment resources. The National Association of School Nurses is a Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign partner. Reach out to your state or local chapter to suggest ways you can work together to enroll children in Medicaid and CHIP.

Connecting Kids to Coverage Resources

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign recently hosted a webinar on school-based outreach to cover a range of perspectives on why schools are a central focus for outreach activities and how to engage school leaders in outreach and enrollment activities.

The Campaign also has a wide variety of materials – posters, palm cards, flyers and more – that you can customize in several languages for your outreach efforts. Order palmcards with your organization’s contact information and offer them to local school officials – like school nurses – who interact with parents of uninsured children every day.

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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