More Kids On Health Insurance, But Red Tape Remains An Obstacle

More than 1,000 children in Massachusetts remain uninsured
More than 1,000 children in Massachusetts remain uninsured

A monthlong campaign to search out and enroll many of the estimated 3,300 remaining uninsured children has resulted in new coverage for 1,479 youngsters, according to Health Care for All, a Boston-based consumer group that is leading the initiative. But advocates say the campaign has also highlighted burdensome paperwork requirements that often result in children being booted off of Medicaid, the state and federal program for low-income people, though they are still eligible.

Families are required to re-enroll every year, and children can be cut from the program if parents do not notify the state of changes in address, income, or employment. Each time a person is dropped and then re-enrolled, it costs the state about $200 in administrative costs, according to a University of Massachusetts report last year that suggested that eliminating those costs could save the state millions of dollars.

At 1 pm today at the State House, the consumer group Health Care For All holds a news conference to offer more details about the child-enrollment effort and to begin step two of the plan: to make sure children keep their health insurance. In its press release, HCFA says:

Massachusetts has made great strides in covering many children in Massachusetts but retention is still a big challenge. To address this issue, Health Care For All will provide the 66 organizations with educational outreach materials, including bookmarks and magnets, which detail the steps consumers must take in order to maintain health coverage. These materials feature actionable reminders, such as informing MassHealth about changes in employment status or address, and when their family's health insurance renewal is due.

This program aired on June 14, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Rachel Zimmerman

Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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