Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Beshear Announces Plan to Enroll More Children in Health Insurance Program

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 03, 2008  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton
Jill Midkiff
502-564-2611
 


Governor Reduces Barriers, Increases Retention and Outreach Efforts

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Steve Beshear today outlined an ambitious plan to get as many children as possible enrolled in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) by 2010.

The Beshear Plan, unveiled in several communities across Kentucky today with an implementation date of November 1, intends to dramatically cut the number of children without health coverage by removing barriers to enrollment, retaining more children once they are enrolled and significantly increasing education and outreach regarding the program.  The plan hopes to enroll over 35,000 by FY2010.  KCHIP provides health insurance to children whose family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, about $42,400 a year for a family of four.

“It is shameful and shortsighted that we are not providing children with the health care they need and deserve,” Gov. Beshear said.  “The steps we are taking today to get more eligible children enrolled in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program are fiscally responsible, economically smart, and, quite simply, the right thing to do.”

Beshear unveiled plans to enroll eligible children in KCHIP, including:

SIMPLIFYING THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS:

  • Eliminate the face-to-face interview requirement and allow:
    • Applicants to mail in the application
    • Applicants to download, print and fill out application from the Governor’s website
    • Applicants to apply in-person at the local DCBS office, though this is no longer required.
  • Short application:
    • An easy-to-use application has been created.
  • Amend denial process:
    • Provide a new 30-day grace period to provide additional information for denied applications
    • Follow up by phone or mail with applicants who fail to supply requested information.

INCREASING RETENTION EFFORTS:

Currently, KCHIP families must recertify at the end of each year that they want to continue in the program, and are given 30 days to return a renewal form by mail.  The Beshear Plan will:

  • Allow a new 30-day grace period to complete the renewal process 
  • Contact families by telephone and mail who fail to return renewal form.

INCREASING OUTREACH:

  • Identify families participating in the Food Stamp Program, the Free and Reduced Meal Program and other agency programs who may qualify and provide outreach to their families.
  • Create a system prompt for Food Stamp workers to inform applicants of potential eligibility for KCHIP.
  • Provide training to employees at Federally Qualified Health Care Centers, Free Clinics, Local Health Departments to assist customers with application completion.
  • Contact families by mail that dis-enrolled from the program within the past year and encourage them to reapply for benefits.
  • Contact the parents of every newborn in Kentucky with a postcard providing information about KCHIP enrollment. 
  • Provide training to and encourage advocacy groups and other interested parties to assist applicants with application and ensure documentation is attached.
  • Distribute applications during back-to-school campaigns.
  • Create a list serve for all school districts and send message each school year from Cabinet Secretary encouraging school staff to assist in identification and enrollment of children into KCHIP.

In addition, outreach to new members will include:

  • Information about the benefits available to their children through KCHIP, such as well child visits, vision, dental, pharmacy, etc.

IMPLEMENTATION

The Beshear Plan, which requires an eight-week implementation, will be accomplished by:

  • Hiring two additional KCHIP Central Office Staff;
  • Hiring 26 specialized KCHIP workers; and
  • It is estimated this plan will cost $6.1 million in state funding and $16.7 million in federal funding in FY09 and $25 million in state funding and $64.6 in federal funding in FY10.

Governor Beshear made note of several critical reasons the state is taking these steps, including:

  • Supporting children’s health is vital to supporting Kentucky’s future.
  • Children’s health status impacts academic achievement.
  • Treating Kentucky children will save money on future chronic conditions. 
  • Uninsured Kentuckians cost insured Kentuckians. 
  • The Beshear Plan may reduce use of emergency rooms by uninsured families.

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