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A Lesson Plan to Enroll Children in Medicaid and CHIP This Back-to-School Season

July 18, 2018

Although it feels like summer break recently began, now is the perfect time to start planning Back-to-School outreach! From backpack giveaways, to partnering with schools to educate parents on the importance of health coverage, there are variety of opportunities and reasons promotion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the summer gets high marks from organizations across the country.

Children who have health insurance miss fewer classes and perform better in school than those who are uninsured. With health insurance, they can get the immunizations, check-ups, eye exams, dental visits and other care they may need to fully participate in classroom and after-school activities.

To ensure more children gain access to health coverage to improve academic success, developing and strengthening partnerships during the Back-to-School season is key. Organizations that work closely with students, local businesses and schools are important partners for successful school-based outreach.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign’s recent webinar explored ways your organization can work with schools and other education and student-focused groups to reach eligible families and enroll children in Medicaid and CHIP. The webinar also provided best practices and proven tips that you can use to make your outreach and enrollment efforts a success this Back-to-School season.

Campaign in Action

HOPES Community Action Partnership, Inc. (HOPES CAP, Inc.) has worked to serve and empower low-income individuals and families in the Hudson, Union, and Somerset counties of New Jersey for more than 53 years. By partnering with local schools and recreation departments, district boards of education, local public housing authorities, and corporations, the organization has been able to host a number of Back-to-School giveback events and Parents’ Nights. These events serve as an opportunity to engage parents in school readiness, as well as connect families to health coverage. HOPES CAP, Inc. engages partners regularly in outreach and in 2017 the organization assisted 1,392 children and adults with enrollment of which 60 percent were made possible through partnerships.

Continuous collaboration with multiple partners is integral in guaranteeing successful outreach during the Back-to-School season. Florida Covering Kids & Families (FL-CKF) is the only statewide organization in Florida that works with multiple federal, state, non-profit, and private organizations to address the problem of uninsured children. By connecting with a number of community touchpoints, they are able to provide enrollment and retention assistance by distributing applications and outreach materials to business and community partners throughout the state, as well as host press conferences and enrollment fairs that increase awareness of Florida KidCare programs. Each year the organization institutes a robust Back-to-School plan that outlines partners, businesses and media to engage and proposed events to host. In 2017, the organization hosted more than 346 events throughout the state over 18 weeks which resulted in thousands of Medicaid and CHIP application submissions.

School administrators and teachers play a central role in the lives of students and can be invaluable partners when it comes to identifying and enrolling eligible students in Medicaid and CHIP. The School Superintendents Association (AASA) works in seven regions across the nation, and their state-based affiliates enable them to reach every school district in the country. In partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund, they collaborated with 15 school districts with the largest number of uninsured children to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. The Insure All Children Toolkit was developed to serve as a best practice guide for identifying, reaching, enrolling, and engaging eligible families. The Toolkit provides a framework for connecting children to coverage, along with valuable materials to plan and execute school-based outreach and enrollment.  

Download the Campaign School-Based Outreach and Enrollment Toolkit

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign’s School-Based Outreach and Enrollment Toolkit has everything your organization needs to prepare for the Back-to-School season. This resource details best practices when partnering with schools, such as strategies for incorporating enrollment into existing school processes and tips for connecting with members of the school community, like superintendents and school guidance counselors. The Toolkit features ready-to-use materials like message guides, templates, resource links, and offers social media graphics for Facebook and Twitter.

We want to hear your success story!

What is your organization planning for Back-to-School outreach to increase Medicaid and CHIP enrollment? We want to hear from you. Share details with the Campaign via email at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov or on Twitter using the hashtags #Enroll365 and #KidsEnroll.