Interim Evaluation Report: Congressionally Mandated Evaluation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. VII. Awareness of SCHIP and Medicaid Among Low-Income Families


Highlights of Findings

  • Low-income families value health insurance
  • Families are generally satisfied with SCHIP and Medicaid
  • Awareness of SCHIP continues to grow but is still not as high as awareness of Medicaid
  • Low-income families express widespread interest in enrolling their children in SCHIP or Medicaid
  • Knowledge and enrollment barriers for SCHIP and Medicaid still exist for low-income families

If families are to enroll their children in SCHIP and Medicaid, they need both to be aware of the programs and to perceive that these programs offer a valuable benefit. Changing direction somewhat from previous chapters, this chapter offers the perspective of families whose children are targeted by Medicaid or SCHIP. Drawing on findings from focus groups conducted in 2001 with a broad range of low-income families and from preliminary data from the SLAITS National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN), 30 this chapter presents information on families' knowledge and perceptions of these programs.

Program activities to increase Medicaid/SCHIP participation among eligible children are successful if the families of eligible children know both that the programs exist and that their children are eligible; value the coverage the programs offer; and consider the coverage worth the time and effort spent in enrolling their children in the programs. Medicaid and SCHIP programs are now enrolling about two-thirds of the children eligible to participate who would otherwise be uninsured (Dubay, Kenney, and Haley 2002). This success shows that program outreach activities are reaching the majority of the children they are targeting. The other side of the same coin, however, is that about one-third of eligible children do not participate for reasons that are not yet fully understood. Gaining their participation is crucial to reducing child uninsurance rates.

30. For information on the data and methods for the survey, see van Dyck et al. (2002) and Kenney et al. (2002).

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