It’s that time of year where families, educators, and school administrators get back to familiar routines. Families are preparing their children for the first day of school with the right tools, like pencils, notebooks, and even health insurance coverage. Yet there is one thing about this school year that is different from years past—for the very first time, many families have access to quality, affordable health coverage for their children. That’s right! All low-income children in California, regardless of their immigration status, can apply for full-scope Medi-Cal and get needed care—giving them one more tool to stay healthy and be better prepared to learn. Those who qualify will get coverage for free or at very low cost, and they can stay covered up to the age of 19, giving them the opportunity to access comprehensive health services at no cost. Learn more about Health4All Kids.
This back-to-school season provides a great opportunity to make sure families enroll their kids in coverage since parents and guardians are most engaged this time of year. With just over 6.2 million students in public schools, educators and leaders will be interacting with many parents and guardians in the coming weeks. Parents will visit new classrooms and introduce themselves to new teachers. When they walk through the door this year, let’s make sure to tell them about Health4All Kids.
With the Health4All Kids expansion of Medi-Cal, up to 225,000 children will be newly eligible for comprehensive health coverage, including access to preventive care and other critical health services. Students will be able to see a doctor regularly, get routine checkups at the dentist, and get the care they need when they start to feel under the weather. Healthy students make better learners and, with this new opportunity for coverage, more students have the chance to lead healthier lives.
Educators know that healthy students make better learners. Help us publicize this new opportunity by distributing health coverage materials from the ALL IN For Health Back to School Toolkit. It includes easy-to-use materials to share with families, as well as tools to help spread the word, like robocall scripts and sample text for parent newsletters. Together, we can make sure ALL KIDS are ALL IN for health coverage!
Today in California and across the country, millions more Americans have access to quality, affordable health coverage. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and the tremendous efforts by states, advocates, faith-based organizations, schools, businesses, and communities, including our collaboration with schools through the ALL IN For Health Campaign, more families and children than ever are enrolled in coverage. With coverage, families and children can see a doctor, fill a prescription, and have the peace of mind that health insurance coverage provides—but only if they understand what having an insurance card can mean for them.
Too many people, particularly the newly insured, find health insurance confusing, frustrating, and often overwhelming. For children, their ability to get the care they need depends on their parents’ ability to understand and navigate the coverage system on their behalf. When at least 1 in 3 parents of young children have limited health literacy skills, we know a family’s understanding of health insurance and the health care system will impact a child’s ability to get the care they need.
Part of this understanding is knowing the benefits made available through the ACA and Medi-Cal. A key benefit, for example, is access to preventive services, such as well-child visits, immunizations, and developmental screenings for children, with no additional out-of-pocket costs. Before the ACA, many families, especially minority and low-income families, faced cost barriers that discouraged them from going to the doctor or dentist for a checkup. Instead of going to a primary care doctor to get chronic asthma under control or going to a dental care provider for a cleaning, children ended up in the emergency room with a preventable asthma attack or tooth abscess. Access to regular, preventive health care is a key element to helping all Americans become healthy and stay healthy. Preventive care is particularly critical to children’s development, helping them thrive in school and grow up to become healthy adults. As coverage becomes more widely available, it is time to help families navigate an unfamiliar health care system and ensure that families are using that coverage to get care before health problems arise.
At The Children’s Partnership, we are excited to add this new focus to our ALL IN For Health Campaign and build on our powerful partnership with California schools to educate families about the importance of understanding coverage, including seeking preventive health care. We have developed a new flyer that reinforces the concept of preventive health and gives families four easy steps they can take today to get their families the care they need to stay healthy. To help families keep track of their children’s preventive health visits and other medical information, we’ve also developed a handy card to store key information.
Educating families about how to use their insurance and the importance of preventive services is critical to the well-being of children and their ability to succeed in school. We are excited to continue our work with schools to better the health of California’s students and families and do our part to make sure that the vision of the ACA—a healthier America—becomes a reality.
For decades, community organizations, policymakers, and advocates have worked together to make sure every member of the family could experience the benefits and security that health coverage provides. Families have bravely made their voices heard to make sure their kids could lead healthy and happy lives and the state of California is listening. Last year, the first victory in the journey toward health for all was achieved—all children, regardless of immigration status, will soon get free or low-cost health coverage through Medi-Cal. If a child under the age of 19 meets income guidelines, he or she will qualify for Medi-Cal. As we celebrate this milestone, we must continue our work to educate families, build awareness, and make sure every family takes advantage of this important opportunity.
Although the expansion of benefits to all children is expected later this year, families can act now to make sure that their kids get the comprehensive health coverage they need as soon as possible! Families can begin enrolling their children in restricted Medi-Cal (also known as emergency Medi-Cal) TODAY. Then, once the expansion is in place, those children enrolled in restricted Medi-Cal will be automatically enrolled into full-scope Medi-Cal. Families can apply without fear and know that their immigration status information is kept private. To enroll, immigrant families should visit www.localclinic.netto identify a local clinic to apply at or visit their local county human services office.
The expansion of Medi-Cal will help thousands of California children, but many families have questions and concerns about applying. The ALL IN For Health Campaign—the TCP-led effort to equip the education community with tools to help families connect to health coverage and care—has created a new flyer for schools to distribute to families. The flyer includes the most important facts about the expansion of Medi-Cal to undocumented children and how to get enrolled today. With our school and early learning partners, we can reach many of California’s more than 9 million children, including this newly eligible population, encourage families to enroll in restricted Medi-Cal now, and connect them to enrollment assistance. We also plan to continue learning about how we can better reach families with this information. We want to do all we can to work with trusted community centers, such as churches, clinics, small businesses, and more to help get the word out that it’s safe to apply.
Getting more kids enrolled in health coverage is key to children getting the care they need to grow up healthy. When children have health coverage, they can get preventive care that catches potential health issues before they become a problem. It also enables families to build a relationship with a doctor, dental provider, or other health care provider so that they have someone to call on when health issues do come up. Finally, children with health coverage are much less likely to miss school and are better prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom!
We hope you will join us in making sure all families have this important information and take the next step to enroll their kids in coverage. And, together, we will work toward a statewide solution so that all Californians, both children and adults, have access to quality, affordable coverage. Help spread the word by sharing “The ABCs of Health Coverage for ALL Kids” with your community.
Healthy students make good learners. That’s the logic behind The Children’s Partnership’s ALL IN For Health Campaign, an effort to equip educators with the tools they need to connect children and families to health coverage and care. We’ve heard the impact of health on kids’ ability to learn from on-the-ground stories, including teachers who have seen students rack up absences and, as a result, fall behind in school. These are children who don’t get the health care they need or whose toothache or poor vision prevent them from concentrating in class. Many of these children don’t have health coverage and, thus, are not getting preventive or timely care when they have a health problem.
Health coverage and care are key elements to making sure that students are in class and ready to learn. Students with health coverage are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, and contribute more in tax revenue as adults. The understanding that health is a key component to school success is now fueling a new federal initiative. Late last week, the US Department of Education (ED) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Healthy Students, Promising Futures. This campaign offers schools a number of high-impact opportunities to improve the health of their students, from connecting eligible students to health coverage opportunities to promoting healthy practices through physical and health education.
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, millions of children and adults now have health coverage. And now that students have that coverage, schools have the opportunity to move students up the wellness continuum, beyond the point of simply not being ill to being truly well. They can do this by connecting students to preventive care and educating them on healthy habits. ED and HHS recommend delivering health services to students directly in schools, providing support services and case management to at-risk students, and partnering with local hospitals and organizations. And, by promoting healthy habits such as eating well and engaging in physical activity, schools can encourage healthy habits that last a lifetime.
At The Children’s Partnership, we share the Administration’s commitment and have acted on it through our ALL IN For Health Campaign. To reach as many families as possible, we’ve enlisted the leadership of the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, and partners like California School Boards Association, California Parent Teacher Association, and California Head Start Association, among many others, to help connect schools and early learning sites across California to the information and materials they need to help families understand their coverage options and help them enroll. As a result, we’ve been able to deliver over 7.3 million messages informing families about their health coverage options and how to enroll and connect to care.
We applaud the Obama Administration for highlighting and supporting this high-yield connection between health and education and look forward to seeing what can happen when more schools and members of the health care community partner to help every student in the country thrive.
If you’re a school or early learning center in California, use our toolkit to help eligible students and family members enroll in affordable health coverage. And learn more aboutThe Children’s Partnership’s experience in conducting a statewide campaign that partners health advocates and the education community in order to benefit the children and families they both serve.
We are now in the midst of the third open enrollment period for Covered California, the state’s marketplace for affordable health coverage options. And schools and early learning centers across California are once again at the forefront working to inform families about the opportunity to enroll in coverage. Using The Children’s Partnership’sALL IN For Health toolkit, schools and early learning sites are making calls, passing out flyers, sending newsletters, sharing social media messages, and, ultimately, connecting families to enrollment assistance.
But after a successful first two years of enrollment, what should schools and other outreach partners be focused on this year? Based on the research, we know there are some top points to emphasize to make sure kids and their families get covered and stay covered:
- Financial Help Can Lower Monthly Costs: A recent Covered California survey showed that many uninsured individuals who can benefit most from affordable coverage options still do not understand that they can get financial help to lower monthly costs. Therefore, we need to focus our messages on the premium subsidies available through Covered California and the fact that Medi-Cal is free or very low cost. On the flip side, it is also important to remind families that if they don’t get coverage, they might have to pay a fine of $695 per person or 2.5 percent of their income—whichever is greater.
- Enrollment Help Is Available: Studies after previous enrollment periods demonstrate that many people seeking health coverage prefer to talk with someone who can help them understand their coverage options. ALL IN can arrange for Certified Enrollment Counselors who speak English, Spanish, and potentially other languages to be available on site—such as at schools or early learning centers to walk families through the enrollment process and ensure they enroll.
- Shop Around and Renew Every Year: Each year there are new plans and new prices available. Everyone is encouraged to shop the health coverage marketplace during open enrollment and ensure they have the plan that best meets their family’s needs and budget, especially if the family has had any changes in income. For those with coverage through Covered California that are satisfied with their coverage, they will be automatically re-enrolled in their health plan. Medi-Cal will mail renewal packets each year, and families must respond to keep their coverage.
These are just a few messages schools and early learning providers can spread to make this third year of open enrollment as successful as possible. If you have additional ideas on what to focus on or would like to partner with the ALL IN For Health Campaign, please contact us.
Covered California open enrollment is November 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016. Medi-Cal enrollment is available all year long. Apply through www.coveredca.com.
Back-to-school time is here, which is the perfect time to help connect children and families with health coverage and care! In fact, this year, schools in California are required to inform families about health coverage opportunities when kids enroll in school. To help schools comply with this new law (AB 2706), The Children’s Partnership’s ALL IN For Health Campaign has a brand new toolkit with everything schools need.
This newly launched Back to School Toolkit has a suite of materials to help schools reach families with easy-to-understand enrollment information. For example, the 2015–2016 School Year Calendar is an exciting new piece for school leaders that lays out a clear roadmap of health coverage outreach activities that fit into the school calendar to help educators schedule out activities. The toolkit also includes the newly released “Are you DACAmented?” flyer that will help schools reach families who have children with DACA status and connect them with health coverage.
As kids’ advocates, The Children’s Partnership has worked since its founding to better the health of children and families throughout California and across the nation. The ALL IN For Health Campaign has been a key part of that mission.
In order to leverage the once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by the Affordable Care Act to extend health coverage to more Californians than ever, we have partnered with the education community. Educators interact with millions of families every day and understand better than anyone that healthy kids make better learners.
We’re excited to continue our work assisting and equipping schools to help keep children and their families healthy. The Back to School Toolkit builds on our two years of experience and brings our best resources yet to school leaders statewide.
Lessons learned from two years of the ALL IN For Health Campaign
When the education and children’s health advocacy leaders in California came together two years ago to partner for student and family health, no one knew what the outcome would be. As California was preparing to roll out new health coverage options for families and individuals as part of health care reform in summer 2013, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson partnered with The Children’s Partnership. Together, we called on the state’s education leaders to work with child health advocates to help families connect to new health coverage options. The message was that no one knows better than teachers, school personnel, and other education leaders that healthy children make better learners.
As a result of this call to action, The Children’s Partnership launched the ALL IN For Health Campaign with a simple mission: equip schools, early learning centers, and after-school programs with the tools they need to help more kids and families enroll in health coverage. At the time, California was gearing up to launch its first open enrollment period through Covered California, the state’s Health Benefit Exchange, and provide more Californians with coverage through expanded Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. With new affordable health care options coming to families across the state, ALL IN For Health identified schools, early learning centers, and after-school sites statewide as places where thousands of families could learn about their new options and find out how to enroll in a plan that meets their needs.
This model has proven to be highly successful; over the last two years, with our partners in the education community, ALL IN For Health has delivered more than 6.5 million messages across the state informing families about health coverage options and how to enroll, and encouraging them to take action to get covered. Research has shown that consumers need to be prompted multiple times before they enroll in coverage, making ALL IN’s voice an important one in the push to get more Californians covered.
In the past couple of years, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about what works in partnering with the school community to reach families and students with important health information. For example, we learned that partnering with well-respected leaders in the education community and offering them an easy-to-implement game plan with off-the-shelf materials is vital for getting buy-in and making sure these leaders can easily engage in outreach activities. We also learned that speaking the schools’ language and tying activities to the school calendar really works in getting more families enrolled in health coverage.
Check out our Summary Report for more details on what we’ve learned and ideas for how you can bring a campaign like ALL IN to your community. Not convinced yet? The numbers in our infographic speak for themselves.
This past Monday marked the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a significant milestone and excellent opportunity to assess the impact this historic law has had on the health of California’s families and children. Our state has led the way in implementing the reforms included in the ACA, which has helped provide health coverage to more families than ever. The uninsured rate for all Californians fell by as much as 60 percent, and we can proudly say that 93 percent of kids in California are insured.
Through the state’s health exchange, Covered California, the State is insuring more than1.8 million individuals, an estimated 101,000 of whom are children. The State also expanded Medi-Cal eligibility to more adults, resulting in 2.7 million additional enrollees. In addition, California provided state-funded Medi-Cal to individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. In the last two years alone, California enrollednearly 1 million young people in Medi-Cal. Along with other reforms, Medi-Cal now covers more than half of all children in the state.
Thanks to the ACA, Californians and millions of individuals across the country benefit from an improved health care system. Those with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage due to their health. The lifetime limit on health coverage has been eliminated, meaning that those with chronic conditions or in need of costly treatment will be able to continue to reap the benefits of health coverage no matter the cost. And young adults under 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance, providing an important bridge as younger Americans transition to adulthood. Health coverage now works better for Californians.
While we’ve accomplished so much together in the last five years, our work to cover all families is not done. Many families who are eligible for coverage do not understand how to enroll; there is much work to be done in educating them about their health coverage options and helping them enroll into coverage. Additionally, certain undocumented immigrants remain ineligible for coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California, and, as a result, an estimated 170,000 California children remain uninsured due to their immigration status.
All California children deserve a healthy start in life, and our state is stronger when everyone has access to health care, including our immigrant children and families. We hope that the current injunction against President Obama’s Immigration Executive Action is lifted so that California can continue progress on this front and that the state will continue to lead the way by passing SB 4 (Health4All), which would provide affordable coverage to all Californians regardless of immigration status.
With these eligibility barriers removed and strong community education and outreach, California can make tremendous progress toward reaching our goal of providing affordable health coverage to all. With determination, we hope to soon celebrate another important milestone: 100 percent coverage for all families.
Photos below from a Affordable Care Act 5 year anniversary celebration with our partners in Los Angeles: Health Access, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, California Partnership, Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund-California, California Immigrant Policy Center, Young Invincibles, and more.
With less than two weeks to go before the February 15 Covered California Open Enrollment deadline, ALL IN For Health has ramped up its efforts to reach as many families as possible through schools, early learning and care, and after-school sites.
On Saturday, January 24, we kicked off a 22-day statewide campaign to connect families to coverage. In partnership with Montebello and Natomas Unified School Districts, we hosted Day of Action health coverage information and enrollment events. Over seventy families enrolled in affordable coverage with the help of Certified Enrollment Counselors and even more learned about their health coverage options through Covered California and Medi-Cal. Every family that enrolled helped grow the number of California kids who have the opportunities that a healthy upbringing affords.
At Natomas High School, the Executive Director of Covered California, Peter Lee, stopped by to relay his enthusiasm that schools are spreading the word that health coverage is now within reach.
In Montebello, local Assemblymember Cristina Garcia stopped by to show her commitment to expanding health coverage in her community.
And our partners at LA Care presented lively educational skits on how to take advantage of health coverage.
With the February 15 deadline fast approaching, now is the time to spread the word about applying for health coverage. Schools across California know that healthy kids make better learners. That is why they are taking action for the health of their students by sending out eBlasts, making robocalls, and distributing enrollment information. And with several more events planned, you can even get out and learn more yourself with the help of Certified Enrollment Counselors.
Learn more and get involved at http://www.allinforhealth.org/dayofaction.
We are a few weeks into the open enrollment season and TCP’s ALL IN For Health Campaign is working overtime to make sure schools and early learning centers have the materials they need to help uninsured children and families enroll or renew their enrollment in affordable health coverage. Open Enrollment for Covered California runs until February 15, 2015. This is an opportunity for individuals without health coverage to shop and sign up for health plans through Covered California. They may also be eligible for Medi-Cal, which families can enroll in all year long. Individuals can sign up for both programs at www.coveredca.com.
We developed an infographic to help families enroll in just a few easy steps.
Infographic: Easy Steps to Enroll in Health Coverage (Spanish)
We also worked with partners to develop English and Spanish family flyer, school flyer, and bookmark for schools to share with families. In addition to downloading these materials, you can order them here.
Besides Open Enrollment for new coverage, it’s also time to renew Covered California health plans. In October, Covered California started notifying individuals who signed up for health coverage last year about the need to renew their health coverage. Those enrolled in Medi-Cal will renew their coverage on the anniversary of the month they enrolled.
TCP’s ALL IN For Health Campaign works with partners—such as the California Department of Education, California School Boards Association, California School-Based Health Alliance, California Coverage and Health Initiatives, Covered California, The California Endowment’s Get Covered Campaign, and many others—to equip education leaders with the tools they need to educate families and individuals in the school, early learning, and after-school communities about health coverage opportunities and connect uninsured children, parents, and employees to health coverage.
Learn more: http://www.allinforhealth.org/.