by Phillip Bergquist, Director of Health Center Operations, CHIPRA Project Director, Michigan Primary Care Association
When President Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) on February 4, 2009, he said the law fulfilled “one of the highest responsibilities we have—to ensure the health and well-being of our nation’s children.”
CHIPRA paved the way for significant gains in access to health insurance coverage and health care for children across the country. Today, 4 million more children are insured through Medicaid or CHIP than when the law was enacted. The rate of uninsured low-income children decreased 3% from 2008 to 2012, despite the economic downturn. Nationwide the number of eligible but uninsured children dropped from 4.9 million in 2008 to 3.7 million in 2012.
So, how did Michigan do? Pretty well!
- The number of uninsured kids in Michigan dropped from 123,707 in 2009 to 104,453 in 2011, a reduction of nearly 20,000
- The three-year average number of low-income uninsured children in Michigan decreased by 7,000, from 81,000 (2008-2010) to 74,000 (2010-2012).
- From 2009 to 2012, the number of children insured by Medicaid and MIChild grew from 972,754 to 1,038,554- an increase of 65,800
- The percentage of Michigan children with health insurance reached 96% in 2012
- The State of Michigan received over $26 million in CHIPRA Performance Bonuses since 2009 for implementing program features that support enrollment and coverage retention
- Community organizations across the state received over $2.6 million in CHIPRA outreach and enrollment grant funding to help reach eligible children, enroll them in Medicaid and CHIP, and help kids retain their coverage
Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) was the proud recipient of two CHIPRA outreach and enrollment grants, each with a unique but complimentary focus on children’s coverage issues in Michigan. Through the first grant, MPCA’s outreach team assisted over 29,000 children, teens, and pregnant women with health coverage, and directly enrolled over 2,700 residents in Medicaid and MIChild. We developed 340 new outreach partnerships, participated in 270 outreach events, and provided training for 460 additional application assisters.
MPCA’s second grant provided resources to implement an innovative client communications program. This program has increased the coverage retention rate (a measure of enrollees who remain insured after renewal) by 21% amongst a group of over 100,000 Medicaid/CHIP enrolled Health Center patients. The Medicaid/CHIP beneficiaries participating in MPCA’s project now have a retention rate 10% higher than all other beneficiaries in the state.
MPCA jointly lead the state’s largest back-to-school enrollment campaign in recent history. The campaign, called Enroll Michigan, generated a 20% overall increase in statewide applications for Medicaid and MIChild in one month.
Finally, the resources made available to MPCA, Michigan Health Centers, and hundreds of partners who participated in CHIPRA initiatives re-energized outreach and enrollment professionals and laid the groundwork for the extensive coverage efforts underway today. In many ways, the early successes in educating and assisting Michiganders in enrolling in Health Insurance Marketplace plans can be traced back to strategies and resources developed through CHIPRA support.
Earlier this week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote, “There is much to celebrate on behalf of our nation’s children and of course there is still more work to be done.” She’s right! Despite our progress, 90,000 Michigan kids remain uninsured, the majority of whom are eligible for low-cost or free coverage. As we move forward in the flurry of activities surrounding Affordable Care Act coverage expansion let’s not forget our challenge and commitment to connect these kids to coverage.
I join the Secretary in saying Happy 5th Anniversary to CHIPRA, and I, too, “look forward to the important work of making the next five years in children’s coverage as successful as the last.”