Texas Officials Allot $4M to Boost CHIP Enrollment Efforts
Hoping to expand outreach efforts and enroll more children in Texas' Children's Health Insurance Program, state officials announced on Jan. 2 their intent to spend $4 million on developing advertising and business partnerships for the program, the Associated Press reports. Since beginning in May, the program has enrolled 200,000 children. Officials have set a goal of enrolling a total of 428,000 children by Sept. 1, 2001. Approximately 1.4 million Texas children lack health insurance. While 1.5 million children are enrolled in Medicaid, another 600,000 are eligible for the program, but are not enrolled. Of the $4 million allocated toward boosting enrollment efforts, $3 million will be used for a statewide television and radio advertising campaign and the remaining $1 million will go to 10 community based organizations to manage locally produced marketing initiatives. The expanded outreach effort also will include a newspaper advertising insert that will target minority families. During the state Legislature's next session, set to begin Jan. 9, lawmakers will consider the state Department of Health and Human Services' request for $1.2 billion to cover complete funding for the second phase of CHIP, which would increase enrollment to 869,000 by 2003. House Appropriations Chair Rep. Rob Junell (D-San Angelo) added that lawmakers also will determine whether doctors and hospitals can enroll children in the program. Junell, who two months ago had criticized the state for "not doing enough" to enroll more children, "praised" the expanded outreach efforts, but also expressed doubt that "just mass advertising" would be enough. "I think in many cases we're going to need to get in and start literally going door-to-door to get these kids," he said (Mabin, Associated Press, 1/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.