Nearly 90% of Michigan’s 172,000 uninsured children are eligible for low-cost and free health insurance programs like MIChild and Healthy Kids, but aren’t enrolled. A coalition of Michigan hospitals, urban school districts and community-based health centers has launched Enroll Michigan, a campaign to enroll eligible children in these health insurance programs.
Enroll Michigan is spearheaded by the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and the Middle Cities Education Association (MCEA). Using community relations, community-based enrollment efforts and media, Enroll Michigan will work to connect the families of eligible children to MPCA enrollment teams and simplified online, telephone and in-person enrollment processes. It is estimated nearly 90 percent of the state’s 172,000 uninsured children are eligible for one of the programs but have not enrolled for reasons including language barriers, lack of transportation or means of communication (telephone access) and unawareness of eligibility and/or how to enroll.
“Michigan’s community hospitals are proud to join with Michigan public schools and community health centers on a campaign to connect as many children as possible to health insurance,” said MHA President Spencer Johnson. “The MHA and our member hospitals know the critical role high-quality, preventive health care plays in shaping kids’ lives. Enroll Michigan aims to help eligible but un-enrolled children get the care they need at little or no cost to their families.”
“Health insurance should be at the top of every parent’s back-to-school list,” said MPCA Project Director Phillip Bergquist. “Health insurance coverage is the key to accessing care that keep kids healthy, and health is a must for children to learn in school and succeed in life.”
“Children cannot reach their full academic potential if medical conditions get in the way of learning,” said MCEA Executive Director Ray Telman. “We are excited to be a part of this effort to break down this barrier to health care and student success.”
Enroll Michigan will focus on helping families enroll their eligible children using the MPCA’s simplified enrollment process that takes 30 minutes or less and requires no paperwork from the family. MPCA Community Navigators assist families both in-person at locations and events across the state and over-the-phone.
During the back-to-school season, designated school buildings, hospitals and community health centers will host MPCA enrollment teams in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Jackson, Ingham, Genesee, Kalamazoo and Berrien counties. The localized campaigns are being held to coincide with the start of the next public school year in geographic areas where the largest populations of uninsured Michigan children live.
The names of the schools and hospitals participating in the regional enrollment campaigns will be announced at news conferences prior to the start of school in September. The regional campaigns will be supported by a significant donation of signs from the state’s major billboard companies, who are members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Michigan, and Comcast.
“Nearly 65,000 of Michigan’s uninsured children live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties,” said Bergquist. “Enroll Michigan will be statewide in focus, but will launch intensified efforts in key southern lower Michigan urban areas at the start of the school year to target children as they begin school. Data show us that a large portion of uninsured, eligible Michigan children are attending our public schools.”
With the support of a federal grant, the MPCA has been working steadily and successfully for nearly two years to enroll more children in MIChild and Healthy Kids. The Enroll Michigan coalition will also recommend public policy changes to Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature that can reduce some barriers to enrolling children.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.enrollmichigan.com. To learn more about the coalition partners, visit www.mha.org for the MHA, www.mpca.net for the MPCA and www.middlecities.org for the MCEA.