Talking to Teens about Health Care & Coverage
April 18, 2017
While the percentage of American teens without health coverage continues to decrease year by year, an estimated 5 million teens remain uninsured and unenrolled in any health insurance program at all. Both parents and children are too often unaware of the free or low-cost coverage options that are available to them that can provide access to vital health services—from regular check-ups and doctor and dentist visits, to immunizations, hospital care, mental health services, prescriptions and more.
Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide eligible teens up to age 19 with a foundation for improved health outcomes now and for their future. Findings show that engaging teens in outreach and enrollment efforts not only helps educate teens about program benefits, but is also increases access to care.
The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign's recent webinar featured national and local partner organizations who provided insight on the tactics and practices they have implemented to reach and enroll eligible teens in Medicaid and CHIP nationwide. Partner organizations also discussed how they have engaged with parents and influential community members in a localized efforts to reach teens.
Campaign in Action
The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) partnered with the Department of Education to develop an outreach plan that tied FAMIS (Virginia's state-sponsored health insurance program) to outreach and enrollment around two activities teens like most: sports and driving. The sports portion of the program was developed to mirror the Campaign's strategy guide, The Game Plan. The outreach plan includes trainings for coaches, lesson plans about FAMIS programs, training tools to help teens apply for drivers' education, ninth grade health and physical education on health insurance, and information on health insurance literacy.
VHCF has also seen success through grassroots programs such as Project Connect and SignUpNow. Project Connect is a specialized network of in-person assistants focused on state-sponsored health insurance for children, pregnant women and low income parents. It works in conjunction with Project Connect Grants, which funds local outreach and enrollment efforts that help families apply for coverage under FAMIS. Through both programs more than 95,000 children and pregnant women have enrolled or renewed state-sponsored health coverage and 11,000 people have been trained to assist with enrollment.
SHAPE America, the nation's largest membership association of health and physical educators, works in collaboration with 50 state affiliates to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, sport and dance. Their commitment of 50 Million Strong is backed by the goal of putting all children on the path to health and physical literacy through effective health and physical education programs.
The SHAPE America Awards Program recognizes distinctive contributions to the profession and honors educators by school district, state, and on the national level. One such honoree is Melanie Lynch, M.Ed., SHAPE America's 2016 National Teacher of the Year, awarded for her exceptional contributions to North Allegheny School District's physical education, dance education, health education and physical education programs. Melanie equips her students daily with the knowledge and resources necessary to ensure they are health literate.
New Campaign Materials: Grantee Renewal Palmcards and Partner Outreach PPT
Medicaid and CHIP enrollment is available year-round, but parents have to enroll children annually, even if their personal information has not changed. To remind parents of their renewal deadline, the Campaign created the "Kids on Bench", "Teens Smiling", "High Schoolers", and "Superhero" palmcards to share with families during the initial enrollment process and when engaging with parents of children and teens eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.
We want to hear your success story!
Has your organization used specific outreach strategies to enroll teens in Medicaid and CHIP? If so, we'd like to learn how your organization is connecting kids to coverage! Share details with the Campaign via email at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov or on Twitter using the hashtags #Enroll365 and #KidsEnroll.
 Source: Early release of selected estimates based on data from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey (tables 1.1a, 1.1b); republished online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "National Center for Health Statistics: Health Insurance Coverage" via CDC.gov.