The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants families to know that adults and children who are eligible for Medicaid and/or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can enroll all year around. Through their “Connecting Kids to Coverage” campaign, CMS hopes to improve the lives of children and families by reminding them that there are no enrollment deadlines for Medicaid and CHIP.
CHIP provides eligible children and teens up to 19 years of age with coverage that covers regular check-ups, shots, doctor and dentist visits, hospital care, mental health services, prescriptions and more. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) more adults became eligible for Medicaid and many who may have been denied in the past now qualify.
Community Health Centers have historically led the charge of helping people access health coverage and, more recently, have been on the frontlines of the ACA helping patients enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid (read more about health centers helping people enroll). In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, in the last quarter of 2013 health centers helped two million people sign-up for coverage.
Health centers are helping people like Richard Romanowski, a Chicago musician and volunteer choir director. Mr. Romanowski was uninsured for about 25 years. When he visited Erie Family Health Center he was depressed, unhealthy and struggling with untreated diabetes and high blood pressure. Not only was Erie able to provide him with the care he desperately needed but they also helped him enroll into the expanded Medicaid program. Richard is now covered and doesn’t worry about how he will afford a doctor’s visit or his medications. He says he has “a new lease on life.”
Over 22 million patients rely on health centers for primary care including 3.7 million children. NACHC is pleased to lend its support to the “Connecting Kids to Coverage” campaign. We encourage health centers staff and patients to visit the campaign site for resources such as webinars, posters and palmcards, public service announcements, and tip sheets aimed at educating patients and connecting them to coverage.
To learn more about Medicaid and CHIP and how to enroll, visit your state’s Medicaid agency or HealthCare.gov. Or call 1-877-KIDS-NOW (1-877-543-7669). For more information on the “Connecting Kids to Coverage” campaign visit www.InsureKidsNow.gov.