Baton Rouge – The Department of Health will launch an extensive outreach and enrollment campaign April 29 through May 2 during national Cover the Uninsured Week. Activities around the state will focus on increasing awareness and access to public health coverage for uninsured children through the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP), other Medicaid programs and the new expansion LaCHIP Affordable Plan.
“The first step toward improving the health of Louisiana’s children is ensuring they have access to the health services they need,” said Governor Bobby Jindal. “That’s why we’ve made children’s access to health insurance a top priority. Through the recent expansion of LaCHIP, we’ll make health insurance available to more than 6,000 additional children throughout the state.”
LaCHIP provides health coverage for over 118,000 Louisiana children, contributing to the decrease in the rate of uninsurance in Louisiana. According to the recent Louisiana Health Insurance Survey, only 5.4 percent of Louisiana children are currently uninsured, compared to almost 25 percent ten years ago when LaCHIP began. The rate of uninsured adults has also dropped, with 21.2 percent between the ages of 19 and 65 still uninsured. (Complete survey results are available at www.medicaid.dhh.louisiana.gov.)
Cover the Uninsured events will be held throughout the state, with LaCHIP representatives participating in activities at schools, stores, churches and community centers. Workers will be distributing information, processing applications and renewals for LaCHIP and Medicaid programs, updating contact information and answering questions.
“The rate of uninsurance among kids in Louisiana has continued to decline, thanks in large part to major outreach efforts such as Cover the Uninsured Week,” said Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Alan Levine. “But there are still thousands of uninsured children in Louisiana. This targeted outreach and enrollment campaign will help us focus on communities where getting signed up for the program can be a challenge.”
LaCHIP provides health care coverage for Louisiana children in families with low to moderate incomes at little or no cost to the family. The program is available to uninsured children under the age of 19 and includes a wide range of medical services such as doctor visits, prescription medications, hospitalization, mental health services, therapy and much more.
For children in families with an income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), the program is available at no cost. Through the new LaCHIP Affordable Plan, families with income between 200 and 250 percent of FPL (about $53,000 for a family of four) will now be able to obtain health coverage at an affordable monthly premium and co-payments.
In addition to the those children now eligible through the expansion program, an annual increase in the Federal Poverty Level, effective April 1, will allow more working families access to health coverage through already existing programs including LaCHIP, LaMOMS and Medicaid. The increase raises the monthly income level for a family of four from $3,442 to $3,534.
In addition to the events taking place statewide during Cover the Uninsured Week, LaCHIP will also increase access by extending hours for its toll-free hotline, 1-877-2LaCHIP (1-877-252-2447). Operators will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the full week, beginning on April 28 and ending on May 2.
Cover the Uninsured was established through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The national campaign is designed to raise awareness and build support among policy makers, health care professionals, grassroots advocates, faith leaders and the business community. For more information, visit www.covertheuninsured.org.
Click here for a list of events taking place across the state as part of LaCHIP’s participation in national Cover the Uninsured Week. Applications and renewals can also be made online at www.lachip.org or by calling the toll free LaCHIP hotline at (877) 2LaCHIP (252-2447).