About half of the nation’s children are covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, right now students across the country who rely on this coverage for health insurance risk losing it due to the ending of the public health emergency. Schools can play a key role in ensuring that doesn’t happen.
Since the pandemic’s public health emergency began in March 2020, children and families enrolled in Medicaid have not been required to complete renewal paperwork to stay covered. This continuous coverage ended April 1, 2023 and states have resumed reviewing eligibility for all people enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP to ensure they still qualify.
During this process, known as the “unwinding,” it is estimated that over 5 million children are at risk of losing their health insurance coverage despite most of them continuing to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. It’s estimated that the uninsured rate for children could easily more than double. Unless we take action.
Kaiser Permanente is working to ensure individuals covered by Medicaid and CHIP do not lose coverage. Our resources on kp.org/staycovered and this Medicaid redetermination explanation video support partners in their efforts to keep eligible individuals covered.
Schools are one of those partners, and can play a key role in supporting students and their families in maintaining and enrolling in coverage. School staff and district administrators are some of the most consistent, trusted messengers with established methods of communicating key information to families.
Sharing Medicaid and CHIP enrollment resources with schools and ensuring education leaders and staff are aware of the impact this change can have on their students and families is a key strategy to address the end of continuous coverage. Fortunately, there is no shortage of excellent resources available to support this work.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services developed the Reaching Children and Families in School-Based and Early Education and Child Care Settings toolkit to equip education and early education professionals with the tools and information needed to support children and families in enrolling in Medicaid and CHIP. The toolkit includes robocall scripts, flyers, postcards and social media messages.
- The U.S. Department of Education’s School District Medicaid & CHIP Enrollment & Renewal Checklist details action steps school districts can take to ensure students maintain access to health coverage.
- Children’s Partnership developed the ALL IN to #KeepKidsCovered Community Outreach Toolkit to help schools, child care providers, and other child champions inform families of the Medicaid renewal process.
- AHIP, a national association whose members provide health care coverage, services, and solutions, shares examples of innovative efforts from health insurance provider.
- A case study about how the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – home to more than 560,000 students – is using CHAMP (Children’s Health Access and Medi-Cal Program) to conduct Medicaid outreach.
- A case study about how Aurora Public Schools in Colorado is communicating about Medicaid enrollment, and how they work as a state-certified enrollment center site to immediately process applications for temporary health coverage.
Ensuring the nation’s children have health insurance coverage to keep them safe and healthy is critical. It’s up to all of us to share information, and support schools, districts, and families in getting out the important information they need to ensure children remain covered.