Finding 7 (Chapter IX): Most low-income families knew about Medicaid and CHIP and those with children enrolled in the programs reported positive application experiences. Some barriers to enrollment remain for eligible uninsured children.
Based on national survey data for 2011/2012, nearly all low-income families with an uninsured child (95 percent) had heard of Medicaid or CHIP, and many (59 percent) had been covered by at least one of these programs in the past. Of those who had heard of Medicaid or CHIP, 91 percent said that they would enroll if told that their child was eligible. But about one-third reported not knowing where to get more information about Medicaid and CHIP or how to enroll. Also, fewer than half of all parents of uninsured children reported thinking that applying to Medicaid or CHIP would be easy (43 percent of those with children who had never been enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, and 35 percent of those with children who had been enrolled in the past).
The survey of recent CHIP enrollees asked parents about their application experience: 46 percent said it had been very easy and an additional 43 percent said it was somewhat easy. Just 11 percent reported that it was somewhat difficult. In related findings, 52 percent of parents who had experienced the CHIP renewal process reported it to be very easy and an additional 40 percent reported it to be somewhat easy. Most had applied for coverage by mail (41 percent), but the share using the internet was nearly as large (36 percent) and is likely to grow, as it was still a relatively new option in most states at the time of the survey and it is a required pathway under the Affordable Care Act starting in 2014. About half of new CHIP enrollees understood the renewal requirement for the program, a factor that could ultimately contribute to some eligible children eventually losing coverage if there are problems completing the renewal process.