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Local Efforts to Increase Health Insurance Coverage among Children in California

Peter Long, M.H.S.

This paper examines the practices of local programs to find effective outreach strategies to enroll uninsured children in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.

In 1999, 1.85 million of California's 10 million children lacked health insurance. Two out of every three uninsured children in California may qualify for Medi-Cal or the Healthy Families program. Forty percent (726,000) qualify for Medi-Cal. Another 535,000 qualify for the Healthy Families program. The remaining uninsured children live in families that earn more than the maximum annual income to qualify for Healthy Families or are undocumented immigrant children.

Local organizations play a central role in the state's efforts to enroll these uninsured children. Outreach projects by local organizations can be grouped into three categories based on the primary site of their activities: (1) health facilities; (2) school-based programs; and (3) community-based programs. This report looks at several of these outreach programs to find effective strategies in enrolling uninsured children.

This report discusses:

  • An overview of the outreach and enrollment activities within the state;
  • The settings for local outreach and enrollment;
  • Promising local strategies;
  • Creating a sustainable infrastructure to support these activities; and
  • Lessons learned.

The experiences of the outreach programs provide important lessons for policymakers and administrators in the state and county level.

The complete report is available under Document Downloads below.

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