The goal set by Gov. Blanco at the March Health Care Summit to enroll all eligible children into the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) has reached a major milestone. At the June meeting of the Governor’s Health Care Reform Panel, Gov. Blanco set a short-term goal for the Department of Health to quickly enroll into LaCHIP 25 percent of the children who remained eligible.

At that time, statistics showed there were 77,000 children who remained eligible for LaCHIP but were not enrolled into the program that provides free health care coverage. Today, almost a third of those children (25,395) have now been enrolled. This exceeds the goal set by the governor by more than 6,000 new enrollees. And, as of October 1, there were 648,035 children receiving health insurance through LaCHIP or traditional Medicaid.

Dr. Fred Cerise, LDH secretary, said getting more people health care coverage is a key component of the efforts to reform health care in Louisiana.

“Reducing our large number of uninsured citizens is a critical area of our health care reform efforts, especially health care coverage for children,” said Dr. Cerise. Meeting the enrollment goals set by Gov. Blanco is just one demonstration of our commitment to improve the health of all of our citizens.”

Cerise added that LDH will continue to be aggressive in its effort to identify and enroll children who are LaCHIP- eligible since this number continues to change.  In addition, the agency is working with the Department of Insurance to begin a program that will use Medicaid funding to assist small employers who want to begin providing health coverage to their employees.  This LaChoice program is expected to begin next spring.

Louisiana children up to the age of 19 can qualify for coverage under LaCHIP using higher income standards than those used for traditional Medicaid. For example, a family of four can earn about $3,230 a month and get coverage for their children under the program, which requires no enrollment fees, no premiums, no co-payments and no deductibles.

Dr. Cerise credits a massive back-to-school enrollment campaign as helping LDH achieve Gov. Blanco’s latest enrollment goal.

“Many new LaCHIP enrollees came as a result of the back-to-school enrollment effort that was conducted by Medicaid and the Department of Education. Children across the state were given applications to take home, and special outreach events targeted back-to-school shoppers. These efforts led to a dramatic increase in calls to the LaCHIP hotline and new applications received during the month of August,” he added.

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