New Reports Offer Strategies to Increase Coverage Stability and Expand Access

eAlert c12bc6b4-7174-4ac7-8fbf-a55c2ed72300

<p>Every year, millions of children and families are at risk for not getting needed health care when they lose Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage temporarily due to difficulties in the renewal process or transitions between programs. This instability also increases administrative costs for states. Additionally, many children who qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP are not enrolled at all.<br><br>Two new Commonwealth Fund reports outline how states and federal policymakers can implement policies to reduce instability and expand coverage. For <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=22595&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D376823%26%23doc376823">Instability of Public Health Insurance Coverage for Children and Their Families: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies</a>, Laura Summer, M.P.H., and Cindy Mann, J.D., of Georgetown University reviewed national and state studies and interviewed Medicaid and SCHIP administrators as well as providers and health plan representatives in four states that have implemented policies to improve coverage. They found that coverage instability can largely be averted by adopting key policies and procedures, like limiting the frequency of required renewals; developing easy, seamless transitions among public coverage programs; and setting affordable limits on premium costs.<br><br>Allowing states the flexibility to automatically enroll people into Medicaid and SCHIP using information state officials already have could significantly extend health insurance coverage to uninsured but eligible children and their families, according to <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=22596&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D376814%26%23doc376814">Automatically Enrolling Eligible Children and Families Into Medicaid and SCHIP: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Options for Federal Policymakers</a>, by Stan Dorn, J.D., of the Economic and Social Research Institute, and Genevieve M. Kenney, Ph.D., of the Urban Institute. The authors, however, say that legal and technical barriers now prevent auto-enrollment in public health insurance programs. As a result, federal policymakers need to provide states with additional flexibility in determining eligibility and new resources for investing in information technology.</p>