Texas CHIP Enrollment surpasses 400,000 children for the first time since January, 2004

Texas CHIP Enrollment surpasses 400,000 children for the first time since January, 2004

Enrollment up by 108,914 children since August, 2007

Houston, TX – Texas CHIP enrollment increased by 27,023 children this month, bringing the number of Texas children enrolled to 409,176 – the highest level since January, 2004. This represents an increase of 108,914 children since policy changes approved by the 2007 Texas Legislature took effect on September 1, 2007.

Barbara Best, Texas Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund said, “This is a wonderful victory for Texas children. We thank lawmakers for putting aside their differences and joining together to create a brighter future for the children of Texas. We also thank the hundreds of organizations across Texas, including every major Chamber of Commerce, who came together calling for the restoration of the Children’s Health Insurance Program as a wise investment for Texas children and local taxpayers. It is now to time to build on this success to ensure that all 1.5 million uninsured children in Texas have access to quality, affordable health coverage so that they can become healthy and productive citizens.”

The Children’s Defense Fund of Texas has coordinated several statewide outreach partnerships with schools and businesses to identify uninsured children and link them with coverage. In August, 2007, CDF launched the 100% Campaign in Houston schools, a collaboration of the Houston Independent School District, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities and Texas Children’s Health Plan/Texas Children’s Hospital/Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates. Houston hospitals are funding outreach workers in each HISD region to identify every uninsured child and link them with health coverage. The goal of the project is to enroll every eligible HISD student in health insurance and to reduce emergency room costs for local hospitals and taxpayers.

The 100% Campaign has been recognized as a national best practice by the American Association of School Administrators, which is distributing information on the campaign to superintendents across the country, and is being replicated in school districts throughout Texas.

CDF has also launched a statewide outreach campaign with H-E-B to hold enrollment drives across Texas to link uninsured children with health coverage. The first drive on February 23, 2008 was held at twentyone retail stores throughout Southeast Texas and assisted 1,306 children in applying for health coverage in one day. H-E-B and CDF will continue to host enrollment drives throughout the state and will next focus on the Rio Grande Valley, which has the state’s highest rate of uninsured children.

Barbara Best, CDF Texas Executive Director, said, “We are grateful to the school administrators and business leaders who have worked so hard to link uninsured children with health coverage. By identifying children at school and reaching parents when they go grocery shopping, we help to make CHIP and Medicaid more accessible for low-income working families.”

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children in the nation, with 1.5 million – nearly one in every four children – lacking coverage. Half of the uninsured children in Texas are eligible for but not enrolled in CHIP or Children’s Medicaid.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides low-cost health coverage to uninsured children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private coverage. A family of four FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Barbara Best April 7, 2008 713.664.4080, 832.651.6585 (cell) bbest@childrensdefense.org Texas CHIP Enrollment surpasses 400,000 children for the first time since January, 2004 Enrollment up by 108,914 children since August, 2007 can earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level - $42,400 a year for a family of four in 2008 – and qualify. Families pay no more than $50 a year to insure all their children. CHIP covers regular check-ups and immunizations, hospitalization, surgery, x-rays, prescription drugs, dental, vision and mental health services.

To apply for CHIP or Medicaid, parents can call toll-free 1-877-KIDS-NOW or download an application from the internet at www.chipmedicaid.org.

The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Children’s Defense Fund of Texas offices in Houston, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley work to ensure every child a Healthy Start in life and access to affordable health coverage.